Bristol news Hunger strike man to take case over how old he is to Supreme Court MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The Home Office ruled he is 31, but he says he's 26
Breaking News ! A man who has effectively been on hunger strike for almost a year in a bizarre and desperate row with the Home Office over how he old is could take his case to the UK Supreme Court. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been in hospital in Bristol since last April, and is refusing to eat or drink until the Home Office or the courts agree he is five years younger than the Government says he is. Bristol Live first reported on the case last June, when supporters of the man, including the family that took him when he first arrived in Bristol as a teenager, began a campaign to show support for him. At that point, he was near death and is now only accepting ‘some clinically assisted nutrition and hydration’. The man grew up in Palestine, but was mistreated and feared for his life because he refused to become a suicide bomber or a terrorist. He managed to flee and reached Britain, where he sought asylum and was fostered by a support family in Bristol. He had post-traumatic stress disorder and learning difficulties, after he was tortured and orphaned before fleeing Gaza. That was back in 2007, and after he arrived in Britain, he told the authorities he was 14. At some point, officials assessed his age and said they didn’t agree, and he was in fact 19 when he arrived - five years older. Eventually, in 2019, he was given indefinite leave to remain as the UK agreed he could stay in this country, granting him asylum and sanctuary. When the covid pandemic hit, and now able to find a job, he applied for a volunteer role at the Nightingale Hospital at the University of the West of England’s conference centre in north Bristol, when it was set up in March and April. He was turned down because the date of birth he gave didn’t match the one on his residence permit - and that triggered a serious mental health crisis. He went on hunger strike in protest at the Government’s decision that he was five years older than he said he is, with his supporters saying the issue of his age was fundamental to his sense of identity.
. Supporters called for messages of hope and support to be sent to him, as a series of court cases began. First, he and his supporters began a legal challenge against the Home Office’s original ruling that he is five years older than he says he is.
Then, doctors went to court to ask judges for permission to intervene and feed him to keep him alive. Back in September, an Immigration Tribunal dismissed his appeal on the issue of his date of birth. At the time, Tom Hore, from the mental health charity Bristol Mind, which has been supporting the man, said that decision was ‘sad’. “From the start the Home Office could have taken simple steps to rectify this situation, giving this man the dignity of his correct age and date of birth,” he said. “It is also sad that the court has upheld a bureaucratic decision by the Home Office that has placed a higher value on an arbitrary procedure than on the value of this man’s life,” he added. The man, who the Appeal Court ruled should not be identified, given his fragile health, says he is currently 26, while the Home Office say he is 31.
Mr Hore and his supporters point out that the man will gain absolutely nothing financially or otherwise from having his date of birth changed by the Government - in fact, if anything, it will mean he will have to wait five years longer to be able to claim his state pension. But they say the issue of his age is fundamental to his entire identity, given the trauma of his upbringing. In January, the Court of Appeal upheld that earlier court hearing, and now the man is applying to take his case to the Supreme Court. Judges there will first assess the case to see if they should hear it.
Source = MetiNews.Com