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Thousands sign petition to support asylum seeker's fight to stay in Swansea

Online campaign gathers support ahead of appeal hearing for Otis Bolamu

Supporters of a man from Democratic Republic of Congo who is fighting deportation from Swansea say he is a valued member of the community here and should be allowed to stay.

Otis Bolamu, who is claiming asylum in the UK on political grounds, is facing an appeal hearing in London on 16th October.

His friends say he's been an active member of the local community, taking part in English lessons and volunteering in the community centre. He even did some drumming with the Swansea African Community Centre for the Prince of Wales.

An online petition has now been launched to show support for Otis ahead of his appeal hearing. He was previously detained last Christmas as part of the process before being released again. Jill Duarte from the African Community centre said the waiting in these situations is really hard:

"The Asylum process can be very long and drawn out. Its very painful for clients.

"Some describe it as mental torture, others as a slow poisoning."

His supporters will go to court to face the Home Office in London next month and they say returning to DRC could mean long term imprisonment for Otis. The authors of the online petition say:"He is well settled and well-loved in Swansea. Deporting Otis is in nobody's interests, least of all his."

 

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