Newport pals seek to stop UK deporting Taiwan asylum seeker
8:22am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
A TAIWANESE woman who has lived in Newport for 18 months is being held at a detention centre awaiting removal from the UK – despite protests from friends that she might face the death penalty.
Emily Yeh, 33, who has volunteered at Oxfam and as an interpreter for the Welsh Refugee Council, was detained last Tuesday.
The Taiwanese government is looking to prosecute Ms Yeh after she claims she left their military’s intelligence service and sought asylum in the UK in July 2012.
She was being held at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, in Bedfordshire, yesterday afternoon, where she was taken at 2am this Monday.
Ms Yeh had been taken to Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre on Saturday, after being held at Gwent police station on Cardiff Road, Newport, on behalf of the UK Border Agency from last Tuesday, December 10. Her friends staged a protest calling for her to be allowed to stay in the UK outside the police station at the weekend.
Although she had already been denied permission to stay in the UK twice, she said he had no reason to believe she would have to leave the country until last week.
Speaking from Yarl’s Wood, she said: “I received nothing from the court or the Home Office to say your appeal has been exhausted, you’re supposed to be leaving the country.
“I haven’t done anything bad but they’re treating me like a prisoner.”
She claims that after being told she would have to do “dangerous things” working in the intelligence service without the support of the Taiwanese government, she fled to Wales.
On arrival in the UK, she was given Home Office accommodation on Chepstow Road in Newport.
She said: “Because I don’t have any family here, I really want to get involved with the community and try to blend in and get to know who lives here.”
Around 30 friends protested outside the police station before she was taken to Colnbrook centre.
One of the organisers of the protest, Helen Aesa, said she met Ms Yeh at Newport and District Refugee Support Group’s drop-in service.
She said: “She has fantastic English, she’s really nice.”
Ms Aesa claimed Ms Yeh had been so distressed at the prospect of being sent to Taiwan that she was taken to hospital
A Home Office spokesman said: “We believe that those who fail to establish a genuine fear of persecution should return home. If they do not, we will enforce their removal.”
When asked to comment yesterday afternoon, the Taiwanese embassy in London said they were unaware of the case.
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