Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

If You Send Me Back, I Know They Will Kill Me; TEEN IS ORDERED TO RETURN TO AFGHANISTAN

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

If You Send Me Back, I Know They Will Kill Me; TEEN IS ORDERED TO RETURN TO AFGHANISTAN

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA PITEL

A TOON-MAD teenager who fled war-torn Afghanistan in fear of his life is being ordered to return.

Zaman Mohammadi faces being forced back to a country where he cannot read or write the language, has nowhere to live and where he says even his own family want him dead.

The 18-year-old s Newcastle College student narrowly avoided being stoned to death by angry neighbours shortly before he escaped to Tyneside.

Zaman, who now lives in Wallsend, fears he faces certain death if he has to go back.

He was left an orphan at the age of 13 after his parents went to a funeral and never returned. He then fled to Britain.

His only relatives are an older brother and a younger sister.

But they have turned their backs on him since he renounced Islam and became a Christian.

The terrified teenager said: "If I arrive in Kabul, I am 100% sure they will kill me.

"I can't sleep at night because I have bad dreams - it's too difficult. My life in Wallsend is very good. I am very happy in the North East. I have a new family here."

When the desperate youngster arrived confused and hungry on the streets of Tyneside, he was taken in by Ian Ferguson, leader of a Wallsend asylum seekers' group.

"He didn't know where he was," said Mr Ferguson, who founded the Walking With group six years ago.

"He knew he was in a different country because he was in a house with a flush toilet and the mountains had trees on them. He hadn't eaten for days."

Zaman, whose dream is to qualify as a plumber, is described by pals as a model student. The house-proud youngster now has his own home in Wallsend, where he is working hard for his college exams.

But his hopes of building a new life for himself on Tyneside were shattered when he opened a letter from the Home Office ordering him out of the country.

Mr Ferguson, 67, of Tumulus Avenue, Walkergate, said: "Since he reached the age of 18, immigration decided that it is safe for him to return to Afghanistan. …

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