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  1. ITV Report

Asylum seeker released from detention following petition to save him

Otis Bolamu had been due to be deported over Christmas Credit: HBTSR

An asylum seeker who was about to be deported has been released from detention following a petition to save him.

Otis Bolamu, 38, says he fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2017 after friends warned him he was suspected of spying against the government.

Her settled in Swansea and began volunteering at an Oxfam shop.

But he was refused leave to remain in the UK in August and was arrested by immigration authorities in the early hours of the morning on the 19th of December last year.

He was told he would remain in a detention centre at Gatwick before being deported.

But following an outpouring of support from friends, local MPs and a petition signed by more than 12,000 people, Mr Bolamu has been allowed to return to Swansea while his case is reconsidered.

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The decision to detain and deport Mr Bolamu over Christmas was criticised after Home Office staff and solicitors were unavailable over the holiday period to deal with his fresh appeal for refugee status.

Mr Bolamu's solicitor said that the 'amazing support' from the Swansea community has given his client hope.

The petitions, the protest and the political support from Welsh politicians made a real difference in stopping this injustice fro happening.

We now look forward to continuing to fight for Otis's right to stay in the UK as a refugee and will be working hard to prove his claim.

– Jamie Bell, solicitor

Mr Bolamu must now wait while the Home Office reconsiders his case to see if he will be granted refugee status.

The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection.

All asylum claims lodged in the UK are carefully considered on their individual merits against a background of relevant case law and up-to-date country information.

– Home Office Spokesperson