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Afghanistan Shah’s Story

At the end of 2009, 155 people from Afghanistan were being supported through the asylum process in Scotland

“I arrived in the UK when I was 18. It’s too young to be coming to a new country, but if you have a problem and you can’t stay alive at home, that’s how it must be. When I escaped, it was through an agent. I didn’t know where I was going – he just told me ‘that was Turkey, this is Iran’, and after that, nothing. When I asked, two or three times, he’d punch or kick me. Agents are bad men – he carried a big knife inside his coat, all the time.

“The journey took about two and a half months. I came here in September 2008, to Liverpool, in a lorry. There were two other guys. We got off the lorry and then we didn’t know what to do, where to go. We just started walking along the street and then a policeman came along, and from the police station they got in touch with immigration.

“It was like we’d come to a new life. It was very quiet, no noise, no fighting like in Afghanistan. People were laughing. I just said, thanks God. After 15 days, I was sent up to Glasgow.

“Initially my case was refused, and my solicitor made sure I applied for an appeal. The appeal took just 20 minutes and at the end, the judge said ‘I accept you’. But he said he had to send me his decision in writing, so I was still worried. After two weeks, in the morning I had a dream. I’d had barely any sleep, just in and out, and as I woke up I had this dream and in my dream I received a refusal letter from the court. I thought ‘Shah – you’re finished’.

Annual Review 2010 Scottish Refugee Council

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