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Mosque raid couple win reprieve from deportation.

Byline: Sarah Probert

An Afghan couple appeared to have won a reprieve from deportation today after their children were made wards of court.

Farid and Feriba Ahmad, who had settled in the West Midlands after fleeing the Taliban regime, have been held at a detention centre in Harmondsworth, near Heathrow, since their arrest last Thursday.

They were briefly reunited with their children, daughter Hadia, aged six, and son Seear, aged four, last night. The children are being cared for by family friend Soraya Walton, who said last night that the decision to make them wards of court would delay the deportation of the parents.

The couple were forcibly removed from the Ghausia Jamia Mosque in Lye, near Stourbridge, by police in riot gear during an early-morning eviction operation. Ms Walton travelled to London with the two children and members of the support group yesterday to hold a vigil outside the Home Office. According to the support group set up to fight the deportation of the Ahmadis, the children have been made wards of court, with social services responsible for their care.

Ms Walton said: 'It has been a very stressful time for everybody. They are not going to deport the parents on Friday morning or the weekend, at least.'

Elane Heffernan, of the Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers, said the family's lawyers confirmed they would not be deported today.

She said a hearing to discuss the children's wardship would be held this month. 'I hope the Home Office will do the decent thing and release the parents to allow them to be with their children while the case is considered,' she said.

The family, who had taken refuge at the mosque for 28 days, were expected to be deported to Germany, where their asylum claim was being processed.

A Home Office spokeswoman said the couple would not be sent to Germany until the outcome of an appeal to the High Court against the deportation order.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 2, 2002
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