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"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing" A blog by Amy Willis, a multimedia journalist based in London

Trade unionist’s asylum appeal rejected

A TRADE unionist in Cardiff is facing deportation back to Saudi Arabia despite huge public support after his appeal for asylum was rejected by the UK borders agency.

Yahya Al-Faifi, 49, of Grangetown, fled the Middle East with his family in 2004 after he was sacked by employer BAE systems for organising a trade union to protest against pay cuts for 2,000 staff members.

The trade union succeeded and Mr Al-Faifi’s dismissal received major coverage in the Saudi Arabian press when it went to tribunal.

Mr Al-Faifi left Saudi Arabia as he feared for his life and claims the government had threatened to cut his tongue out to keep him quiet.

A protest was organised in London last week and several MPs and trade unionists went along to support Mr Al-Faifi and his family after Mr Al-Faifi received a letter from the UK borders agency rejecting his appeal.

Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru assembly member for South Wales Central, is one of his supporters.

“Ms Wood said: “Trade unions are illegal in Saudi Arabia, where the UK Government supports a regime that has one of the worst human rights records in the world.

“If Yahya Al-Faifi and his family are deported to Saudi Arabia it’s likely they will face persecution as political dissidents.

“The UK Government has an appalling record on deportations. As this case shows, such responses can lead to people’s lives being put in grave danger- all in the name of appearing tough on immigration.”

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio

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