Norwich family's deportation agony

But her appeal for a judicial review to remain in the country as an asylum seeker has failed and she will be deported tomorrow.

The young woman fled Zimbabwe in March after she was tortured and her mother was killed by supporters of Robert Mugabe’s internationally condemned ruling party.

She took the first flight she could get out of the country and arrived in Norwich from Germany.

But the UK Border Agency says that as Germany was the first safe country she arrived at, she should return there to seek asylum, and she is due to fly to Hamburg from Heathrow early tomorrow.

Her uncle and aunt Ignatius Chihata, 32, and Christine Mujaranji Chihata, however, say they are her only family in the world and she should be allowed to stay with them in a country where she speaks the language and has family.

Roselyn is now at the Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire and although an appeal against deportation on the grounds of her poor mental health has been lodged, time is running out.

She is being helped in her fight by the Norwich Justice and Peace group and Norwich South MP Charles Clarke.

Mr Clarke said: “I’m very concerned about Roselyn’s case and have been taking it up and will continue to do so.”

Roselyn’s family are concerned that once she’s in Germany she could be transferred back to strife-torn Zimbabwe.

Mrs Chihata, 27, who is a nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and came to the UK as a student, said: “We’re desperate to get her back because we love her and we’re the only family she has in the whole world.

“I’m the only blood relative of her mother she has left in the world, and it’s a cultural thing for us in Zimbabwe, that when that happens, you informally adopt that person.

“She calls me and Ignatius mum and dad and we have promised immigration officials that we will not let her disappear from Norwich.

“We have pledged to help her financially, emotionally and socially, so she does not need to claim benefits in the UK. We want her to live with us on a permanent basis.”

Roselyn was detained when she went to sign on, as part of her residency conditions, at Bethel Street police station in Norwich last Wednesday.

As there were no police cells at Bethel Street, she was taken to North Walsham police station, before being woken at 3am the following morning to be taken to Yarl’s Wood.

Amanda Caistor, chairman of the Norwich Justice and Peace Group, visited Roselyn at Yarl’s Wood yesterday.

She said that Roselyn had fled to Germany as it was the first flight she could get from Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, and she never intended to stay or seek asylum there.

Mrs Caistor added: “She wanted to come to Norwich, which she did, where she has family.

“She’s in very bad spirits in Yarl’s Wood. An application has been lodged through the church’s refugee service for a medical justice referral. Roselyn previously saw a GP in Norwich who recommended her for psychiatric reports and we are concerned that she will do something disastrous if she is deported.”

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “Under the Dublin Convention asylum seekers should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach after leaving their own country.

“The UK operates a firm but fair asylum system and we will continue to remove asylum seekers from the UK who are more properly the responsibility of another European country.”

Is one of your family members in danger of being deported? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk. (Norwich Evening News)