Victor Mujakachi has now been released from detention and granted three months during which he will not be deported to Zimbabwe. He is incredibly grateful for all the support he received.
ASSIST Sheffield have published a message from Victor:
“I was released from Morton Hall Detention Centre on Friday 15th February. The amount of support and good wishes I received from everyone whilst in detention was not only astounding but very heartwarming. It was heartwarming because those who know me were able to influence their families, friends and acquaintances to sign the petition set up by ASSIST and it then reached so many others in the UK and around the world. I was told of a family that had grandparents, parents and grandchildren signing the petition. This is incredible and very moving!
“Thank you so much and words cannot express how profoundly grateful I am to be in the company of such a supportive community who rise to the occasion when it really matters and at a time when I felt completely helpless and powerless against two very powerful governmental systems, the UK Home Office and the Zimbabwean government.”Victor Mujakachi
Victor is an award-winning volunteer who has been involved with many organisations across Sheffield, including the Burngreave Messenger, since arriving in 2003. He was first detained last Monday 11th February by the Home Office, and following intervention by MP Gill Furniss and a petition calling for his release, he has since been granted a three month stay of deportation.
Gill Furniss, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, issued a statement last Wednesday 13th February following her intervention in Victor’s case:
“I am incredibly pleased that following my interventions with the Home Office and a petition of over 7500 people we have now secured a three month window in which Victor will not be removed from the UK…
The outpouring of support for such a valued member of our community has been amazing and has played no small part in ensuring for now, Victor is safe. My team and I will be working over the coming weeks to help Victor secure his future in Sheffield.”Gill Furniss, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough
Victor was initially being held at Morton Hall, but since then he has temporarily been released from detention and the online petition has now had the support of more than 70,000 people.
ASSIST Sheffield, who began the petition and the campaign for his release, issued a press release following news of Victor being granted stay of deportation:
“We welcome the news that our friend and colleague Victor Mujakachi is currently safe from imminent deportation, and thank Gill Furniss MP and her team for their efforts to keep him safe. However, Victor is still under threat of being deported to Zimbabwe at a later stage, where he would be at risk of arrest and ill-treatment solely for expressing his political views.”ASSIST Sheffield
In his reaction to the news of the support he has received, Victor said:
“I am deeply humbled by the response to my plight and wish to thank each and every person who has raised their voice on my behalf. But this is not only about me. The level of response shows that many people in the UK are deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe and the Home Office’s intent to deport people (back to a country) where we would face arrest, torture, or worse”.Victor Mujakachi
Two other Zimbabwean asylum seekers known to ASSIST, are still currently detained at Morton Hall and are threatened with deportation.
As an outspoken critic of the Zimbabwe governments, there is concern for Victor’s safety and for that of any other asylum seeker forcibly returned to Zimbabwe.
ASSIST Sheffield started the petition for his release, which gained huge support from friends and colleagues. Following the campaign, his story and the plight of other Zimbabweans facing deportation soon made headline news locally, nationally and globally, including the Sheffield Star, The Independent and The Guardian.
The campaign to prevent his deportation continues. ASSIST Sheffield are keeping the petition open until they can be absolutely sure that Victor is safe:
ASSIST’s Petition to free Victor Mujakachi