Protest mounted against Sheffield asylum seeker detention

Detained: Lemlem Abdu
Detained: Lemlem Abdu
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SUPPORTERS of a Sheffield asylum seeker facing deportation are holding a demonstration today to protest against her removal from the UK.

Disabled 62-year-old Lemlem Hussein Abdu was detained when she visited a Border Agency office in Sheffield to start a fresh asylum claim.

Her supporters say that Lemlem, who fled her home country of Eritrea in 1978, will be flown to Ethiopia on Sunday unless they can successfully halt the deportation.

Lemlem had been staying in Sheffield with Catholic priest Father Shaun Smith, from Sacred Heart Church in Hillsborough.

Father Smith said he thought the treatment the asylum seeker had received was ‘inhumane’.

Lemlem sought permission to live in the UK in 2007 but was turned down, Father Smith added.

She later came to South Yorkshire to be supported by Sheffield’s City of Sanctuary scheme, which helps asylum seekers.

Lemlem was detained when she went to Vulcan House in Sheffield on Tuesday to begin a new asylum claim.

“She was afraid of signing but we persuaded her to go,” Father Smith said.

“She’s petrified. There will be big support for her.”

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said Lemlem’s case had been ‘carefully considered’ by the department and an immigration judge when she appealed against the original asylum refusal.

“Both concluded that this lady does not have grounds to remain in the United Kingdom,” he said.

“The UK has a proud tradition of providing protection to those who genuinely need it, but those individuals with no right to be here must leave and, if they choose not to, we will remove them.”

The demonstration starts outside Sheffield Town Hall at 1pm, before moving to Vulcan House.