City centre vigil for Bernard
Date: 14/07/2012. Story submitted by: Ben Hastie
At 4pm on Friday, the friends and family of Bernard Mboueyeu, an asylum seeker who faces deportation to Cameroon, gathered for a vigil on the steps of the town hall.
Members of the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group and ASSIST Sheffield were there to lend their support, alongside Liberal Democrat Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed.
“Bernard is a fine upstanding resident of Sheffield," said Mr Mohammed.
“I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that the home office is saying that they want him to return to a country that’s not safe for him, so he can put in another application which they’ll then stamp so he can come back."
Bernard was originally arrested in Cameroon in 2007, along with several students and journalists, for taking photographs at a protest rally.
He was tortured with electric shocks and had his feet slashed with machetes.
When a group of demonstrators set the police station on fire Bernard was able to escape, fleeing his homeland. After being forced to leave his family behind, he arrived in Sheffield and quickly threw himself into five different voluntary jobs.
In 2008 he met Sharon, a support worker from Wincobank, and the couple were married in 2010.
Bernard was arrested back in May and was only granted a last-minute reprieve after a high profile local campaign.
He was arrested again last week and is currently being detained at Pennine House in Manchester. He faces deportation on Monday.
“It’s bureaucrats pushing buttons on a computer and not using common sense," added Shaffaq.
“He’s got a hearing on August 9 and clearly they can’t contest the case so they’re trying to push him out of the country beforehand, which is outrageous. The effect on Sharon and the grand-kids has been devastating."
Bernard has offered to return to Cameroon and apply for a spouse’s visa if the Home Office can guarantee his safety, which they are unable to do.
“We’ve filed an injunction and now all we can do is wait," explained Sharon. "He's been alright this past week but now he’s become really anxious.
“If he goes back he faces immediate arrest and torture, and that’s the last we’ll see of him. We’re hoping and praying."
Address: Pinstone Street Sheffield S1 2HH
Tags: Bernard Mboueyeu, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Assist, Shaffaq MohammedTo comment, please sign-in or register.
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