Woman fears for her life if she is sent back to Afghanistan after visa denial

March 26, 2023

An Afghan woman fears being sent back to Afghanistan after her new visa was rejected by the Home Office.

Maryam Amiri, who lives in Glasgow, is calling on the Government to reconsider its decision.

She says her husband, who is also Afghan, worked for British forces and it would not be safe to make either of them return.

Alison Thewliss, MP for Glasgow Central criticised the Home Office's decision and said Ms Amiri's return to life in Afghanistan was "dangerous" and that it did not reflect the changes in the country since her first visa was issued in 2016.

The Home Office decision notice said Ms Amiri does not qualify for leave to remain under the five-year or 10-year partner route, despite having qualified for two shorter visa periods since 2016, according to the PA News agency.

The notice also said Ms Amiri does not meet the minimum income requirement and that the Home Secretary has not seen any evidence that there are "insurmountable obstacles" to Ms Amiri and her husband, continuing family life together in Afghanistan.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021, two decades after being removed by US forces.

"I have always been vocal against the Taliban and their brutal regime," Ms Amiri told the PA news agency.

Ms Amiri also said she disagrees with the Home Office's decision to be sent back to "where women are not secure", especially women who have "always been vocal against the Taliban."

She added: "I feel threatened and am scared of losing my life if I go back."

'I have put my life in trouble'

For many years, Ms Amiri dreamt about going to university and with her course due to start in September, she fears she may not get that chance to attend.

She also said she wishes to continue community work in Glasgow and aspires to become a Member of the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Amiri said her family has already been threatened with persecution because of her views on the Taliban and its decision on women's rights.

She added: "I have put my life in trouble by opposing the Taliban and their activities."

Glasgow MP Ms Thewliss said: "You know what the Taliban are like. It would count against her. It would be a danger for her."

Read more:
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Taliban can give evidence to inquiry into allegations against British soldiers, judge says

The SNP MP was strongly critical of the Home Office for saying it has "not seen any evidence that there are insurmountable obstacles" to Ms Amiri or her husband returning to Afghanistan.

She said: "If they were to follow that guidance they would be in serious danger. I know from lots of casework that I do the risks that people face.

"The idea that you can just send people back and everything will be fine, that's just not sensible, not practical. It's dangerous and the Home Office should really know better before putting something like this out."

She added: "I think her case highlights just the lack of care, the lack of attention, the lack of professionalism in the Home Office."

Ms Amiri's case has been raised with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the House of Commons, but the PM said it would not be appropriate for him to comment on an individual case.

Speaking on the issue, a Home Office spokesperson said: "All visa applications are decided on individual merits. We don't routinely comment on individual cases."

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