Zimbabwean loses asylum appeal

BELFAST, Ireland – A Zimbabwean man who claimed he was beaten and raped by men from Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party has lost a legal battle to stay in Northern Ireland.

The man, who has only been identified as MT, also claimed the same men had killed his mother.

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The Court of Appeal in Belfast upheld a ruling denying the 29-year-old asylum, describing his credibility as “seriously flawed”.

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The judge ruled there was no error of law in the original findings.

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MT was arrested by police in Belfast in 2007. At that time he had applied for a job at the South East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust stating he had worked in a mental health hospital in London from December 2006 to February 2007.

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The judge said: “It was likely he was working illegally in the UK before February 2007.

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MT claimed to have travelled to Belfast after flying from South Africa to Dublin on a fake South African passport.

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“If the applicant was a genuine asylum seeker and his story was true he would have claimed asylum if not in South Africa then in the Republic of Ireland and certainly if not in the Republic of Ireland as soon as he came to the UK.”

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Following his detention, MT said he was employed at an engineering plant on the northern outskirts of the city.

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He later applied for asylum but was refused on the basis that he had not established a well-founded fear of persecution or of suffering serious harm if returned from the UK.

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He appealed the findings against him by attempting to demonstrate that the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal had erred in law.

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In his judgment the judge said that the immigration judge had found MT’s account was not credible.

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“He had no supporting evidence relating to his mother, her position in the women’s association and no evidence about her death or how she died.

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“The judge found that had his mother been the chairperson of the women’s association there would have been some media coverage regarding her death, particularly as to how it is alleged she was killed.”

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Meanwhile, in another development Guy Taylor has sought refuge in Britain, fearing a return to his native land would leave him facing persecution.

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But despite his pleas for asylum in this country, immigration judges have dismissed his bid and he faces being deported.

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Being sent back: Former Zimbabwe police officer Guy Taylor has been refused asylum in the UK

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Allowed to stay: Former Mugabe henchman Phillip Machemedze

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Being sent back: Former Zimbabwe police officer Guy Taylor has been refused asylum in the UK, unlike former Mugabe henchman Phillip Machemedze

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The 31-year-old’s case has provoked fury as it follows the decision to allow one of Robert Mugabe’s former henchmen to stay in the UK indefinitely.

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Phillip Machemedze was involved in ‘savage acts of extreme violence’, including smashing a man’s jaw with pliers and then pulling out his teeth.

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But last month it emerged an immigration tribunal ruled he cannot be sent back to Zimbabwe, as he fears for his human rights and could face torture.

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Mr Taylor, by contrast, fears he could be deported within weeks.
He was born in Zimbabwe but his great-grandfather was Welsh and served in the Army during the First World War.

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How we previously covered the story of Machemedze's successful asylum application\r\n

How we previously covered the story of Machemedze’s successful asylum application

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His mother’s great-grandfather was born in Dublin and emigrated to South Africa at the turn of the last century.

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In his asylum claim, Mr Taylor said that as a former policeman and member of the opposition MDC party he would be targeted by the Zimbabwean authorities who would suspect him of being a British spy.

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He left the police in 2000 after it came under the influence of Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party and came to Britain in 2005, where his sister lives.

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But judges dismissed his case, saying they were not convinced he was a member of the MDC and that his ‘credibility’ is damaged as he lived here illegally for two years after his visitor visa expired.

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Savage acts: Phillip Machemedze carried out acts of torture for Robert Mugabe

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Savage acts: Phillip Machemedze carried out acts of torture for Robert Mugabe

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Last night Mr Taylor said: ‘If I go back there I will be persecuted.

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‘I fear for my safety. They are notorious for their brutality.

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‘I was taken aback that this man, this torturer, can be allowed to stay in the UK and I’m not. I have got a genuine claim for asylum.

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‘I have put my fears across, I have proved what’s going to happen to me, but they won’t listen.’

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By contrast, Machemedze has won his case and – failing a successful appeal by the Home Office – will be allowed to stay here indefinitely.

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The 46-year-old former member of the feared Central Intelligence Organisation inflicted horrific injuries on Mugabe’s political opponents.

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He came to Britain in 2000 but didn’t claim asylum for another eight years. His wife has been granted asylum and the couple live in Bristol. 

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