Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Is He Here or Has He Gone? CONFUSION OVER REFUGEE'S DEPORTATION

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Is He Here or Has He Gone? CONFUSION OVER REFUGEE'S DEPORTATION

Article excerpt

Byline: By PAUL JAMES and ALASTAIR CRAIG

CONFUSION surrounded the fate of a political refugee today forced back to Africa rom Tyneside.

Eric Bosse had dreamed of a better life on Tyneside after escaping unrest in his native Congo.

But 16 months after fleeing a filthy jail cell, the political prisoner was due to be returned to Africa last night.

Today, however, his girlfriend Sarah Travena received a call saying he had failed to board Kenya Airways flight KQ101 from Heathrow, and had been returned to Campsfield detention centre, in Oxfordshire.

Sarah, distraught at the prospect of being apart from her partner, said: "He is still in the UK. We don't know if the Home Office have reviewed the case or whether he has refused to get on board the flight.

"We were working until the last minute to try and get the decision to deport him overturned, and I know he was going to try everything not to get on the flight. He rang me in the middle of the night to tell me he was still in the country.

"Now we're desperately trying to get hold of someone from the Home Office to tell us what's going on, but they just won't speak to us."

Church leaders in Newcastle had already condemned the Government for attempting to deport the musician who fears he could be killed on his return home.

Eric was victimised and thrown in prison for supporting minority party the Movement for the Liberation of Congo.

He has told the Home Office he was held captive, beaten and tortured for three weeks before friends helped him into neighbouring Namibia and on to London.

But despite evidence and pleas from friends in his congregation at the Salvation Army along with a petition of 100-plus names, he was still due to be deported.

Sarah has not seen the 31-year-old since he was taken into custody in North Shields a week ago, since when he was moved to Scotland, Manchester and finally Oxford.

She is still worried about his potential return to the Congo, where last week the UN said it was "extremely worried about the rapidly deteriorating security situation". …

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