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Sierra Leone journalist fights deportation

17 December 2010

NUJ members in Manchester have set up a petition to campaign against attempts by the UK government to deport fellow NUJ member James Fallah-Williams.

Despite living, studying and working in the UK since he fled Sierra Leone at the height of the country's civil war in 1998, James's work permit was revoked in October this year. Bureaucratic errors in his application for indefinite leave to remain led to it being refused and a further application for asylum was denied.

During his time in the UK, James has worked as a journalist writing articles critical about the political regime in Sierra Leone and about corruption in the country. His writing led to threats against him that led James and his supporters to fear for his safety if he was forced to return to Sierra Leone.

Chris Rea, Chair of NUJ Manchester Branch, said:

"This is a clear human rights issue and we believe James must stay in the UK. We are urging all NUJ members to support him by writing to their MPs and asking them to intervene with the Home Secretary and Immigration Minister on James' behalf."

Whilst awaiting a decision on his asylum claim, James has been working as a volunteer at the Leigh Community Integration Project, providing support and skills training for migrants and local people in Leigh. He has since worked as an advice worker with Manchester Refugee Support Network.

Michelle Stanistreet, Deputy General Secretary of the NUJ, said:

"NUJ members throughout the union can help James in his fight to remain in Manchester, the city he's made his home since fleeing Sierra Leone – please offer James your support by signing the petition."

Tags: , James Fallah-Williams, deportation, Sierra Leone, asylum seeker