A petition has been launched to grant a Christian deported to Pakistan the right to remain in the UK after threats to his life have left him feeling “imprisoned” in his home.
Asher Samson, 42 was deported to his home country of Pakistan last year, despite claims of violent attacks and threats of execution by Islamic extremists. He says he now remains inside as he fears for his life.
He first arrived in the UK in 2004 to continue training to become a pastor.
After receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home, he decided to seek asylum in the UK. His request was denied in 2018, after which Samson was detained at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire. He was momentarily granted bail before the Home Office detained him for a second time.
Samson was then deported the day before he was due to attend an appeal meeting.
Speaking to Premier Christian News at the time, Samson said he feared he would be in danger if he was sent back to his home city of Abbottabad in Pakistan.
"At the airport, they're going to arrest me because of my profile here - it's everywhere in the media and they know it," he said. "The next thing is where am I going to go? I've got no one there.”
Samson now lives in an undisclosed location.
Reverend Lorraine Shorten is the vicar at Samson’s former church in Birmingham, Hall Green United Community Church.
She has launched a petition calling for the Home Office to re-open Samson’s case and grant him right to remain in the UK.
Speaking to Premier Christian News she said: “ Samson is living in a bedroom, with no access to medicine, food or safety. Every time he goes out he is subject to attack.
“He's basically in jail in his own house, which is a dreadful situation for a young man to be in.”
She went on to say that his living conditions and extended isolation from friends and family have damaged his mental health, leaving him frequently “unable to see the point in carrying on”.
Shorten says she wants the government to acknowledge there is a danger to life for Samson if he remains in Pakistan and take action to ensure his safe return back to the UK.
At the time of writing the petition has received 3,283 signatures.
Samson’s sister, Esther Walker has also written a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a review of his case, citing Boris Johnson’s Christmas pledge to stand up for persecuted Christians.