Afghan father who sought refuge in UK 'shot dead by Taliban' after being deported by Home Office

May Bulman
Mr Fazlie had an appeal hearing set for 28 September: Samira Fazlie

An Afghan man who sought refuge from the Taliban in the UK has been shot dead in his home town after being deported by the British government.

Zainadin Fazlie had lived in London with his wife, who had refugee status, and their four British-born children. But after committing a number of minor offences, the 47-year-old was sent back to Afghanistan after 16 years in Britain, despite threats to his life.

Last Friday, his wife Samira Fazlie found out he had been shot by Taliban forces after seeing an image of his dead body on Facebook.

The 34-year-old told The Independent: “When I first heard, I felt like I had to stop living. When I saw that picture, I couldn’t even move from my bed. For three nights I didn’t sleep.

“My eldest son was crying at my feet. He said mum, I didn’t know my dad was going to die. He said I can’t believe they sent my dad to the country where he was going to be killed by these people.

“My six-year-old is asking to go see her dad because she missed him. I haven’t told her yet. How can they do this to a person who has four kids in the UK? I was begging the government and the judge not to send him back.”

Mr Fazlie arrived to the UK in 2000 after the Taliban gained control of his home town in Maidan Wardak province. He was granted indefinite leave to remain and had four children now aged 16, 13, six and three.

He was issued a deportation notice in 2015 after recieving an eight-week suspended sentence for a violent offence. Due to a recent change in the law, he was unable to exercise his right to appeal in the UK and was removed to Afghanistan in April 2016.

Ms Fazlie said her husband had been suffering with depression and poor mental health when he committed the offence, but that he had since been receiving support in the UK.

“He wasn’t a killer, he wasn’t a drug dealer. He had a depression problem he was dealing seeing a doctor about. When he was depressed, he was doing bad things. Then after he apologised. He needed help. But they sentenced him to death,” she said.

Samira Fazlie said she had 'begged' the UK government and the courts not to deport her husband, who she describes as the 'love of her life' (Samira Fazlie)

“I’m struggling right now without him. It’s really hard. I’ve gone back to work. I have to keep living for my kids. But I feel helpless.”

Mr Fazlie was deported to the Afghan capital Kabul. With no connections there and in a city with a faltering economy, he struggled to find work and decided to return to his home town.

His wife said that once he was there, it became difficult to maintain contact. She said he would tell her that if he came out from where he was, they were “going to kill him”.

The family’s solicitor, Nasir Ata of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, told The Independent he had received confirmation of the death. He said the family had an appeal hearing set for 28 September to bring him back, which they would have had a “good chance” of winning.

“I last spoke to him around March this year. He told me it was difficult and that he was in danger from the Taliban. He said he had to pick up guns to protect himself. I struggled to get hold of him after that,” said Mr Ata.

“We had a good chance at the hearing on 28 of this month, but it was too late. There are a lot of practical difficulties with bringing someone back. The main issue was the fact that he wasn’t given the opportunity to appeal the decision from the UK.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “This is a truly shocking story. The Tory Government’s hostile environment policy ignores the fact that real people’s lives are harmed. Tragically, sometimes the consequences are fatal.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”