Muktar, 26, from Somalia living in the UK

“I left Somalia when I was eight years old”

Muktar came to the UK from Somalia when he was a young child, and was granted indefinite leave to remain with his family.  He was detained after serving a prison sentence, but after 14 months in detention the Home Office has still not decided whether to issue a deportation order.  As a result, he cannot appeal, and remains in detention.

Childhood in the war
I don’t remember no-one in Somalia. I left Somalia when I was eight years old.  Where my family’s from, Mogadishu, there was war all the time. I remember one of my uncles, he got shot . Auntie bring him to the house and there was a lot of blood.

Growing up in Leeds
I moved to Leeds with my mum about ten years ago. When we first moved to Leeds, there was not a lot of Somali people living there. I lived in an English-speaking community.  And in 2008 they opened a Somali community centre in Leeds and I used to help the people who couldn’t speak English, filling in application forms.  I was helping people and they used to invite me to their house, they were good people.

 I studied electric installation at college.  I was working in a warehouse one time for pick and pack and then a few months I was working in Morrisons [supermarket].

Waiting for a year in detention
Sometimes I have trouble sleeping, especially when I watch the 10 o’clock news.  When I see Somalia on the news I get stressed.  And I think about it, and imagine if I really get deported there.  It scares me.

I haven’t been to court. Sooner or later they’re just going to come and take me to Somalia because I haven’t been to court yet. I had indefinite leave to remain [permanent residence].  I don’t know what’s happening, it’s been nearly a year.

It’s not easy to take someone to Somalia because there’s no embassy, it’s hard for them to get travel documents. If they get me a ticket today I can get a letter from the European human rights court and I’ll get an injunction and it will get stopped

They’re trying to say that I’m not complying with them. The Home Office gave me a letter to fill in and it said “Where’s the closest police station to your house in Somalia,” and I told them in Somalia there is no police station. Only small things I can remember. So I said to them if you guys want more information, speak to my Mum.

In the last 11 months of my sentence, I was in an open prison which you could go out any time. My probation said I was low risk of everything. Now the Immigration say I’m high risk.

The mistake, I’ve paid for it. I’ve been in prison and I don’t think it’s fair, paying twice for the same crime.  It was four of us that were arrested, and three of them are English.  They all got released.


15 years in the UK
Still undocumented and unreturnable for  administrative reasons