Eight months on, PhD student Ahmed Sedeeq is still fighting his deportation to Iraq
A fundraiser has been started to pay for his legal fees
Eight months after spending Christmas locked in a dirty cell, Sheffield student Ahmed Sedeeq still faces the prospect of being deported back to Iraq.
Released from Morton Hall immigration centre after 60,000 people signed an online petition, the Computer Science PhD candidate is now going through an asylum case with the Home Office, which will decide if he can stay in the UK.
The Let Ahmed Stay campaign are currently fundraising to pay for his legal fees as MPs have warned case costs are "unaffordable" for many asylum seekers due to government cuts.
Lord Mayor Magid Magid is to attend a fundraiser barbecue this Thursday, taking place at Echo Beach at Dina from 5:30pm to 10:30pm.
Ahmed said: "I am humbled by the kind support I continue to receive. It is an honour to have the Lord Mayor say that he will come to my BBQ party and his support of asylum seekers like me is very much welcomed."
Ahmed was detained for 11 days over Christmas because he accidentally overstayed his visa. Friends who visited him said that he was kept in a dirty cell with no toilet, had no regular food, and went without any medication while suffering from flu.
Morton Hall has been the site of several migrant deaths in the last year, leading to calls from charities for an inquiry into conditions. Ahmed said that conditions in the centre "made me understand why people would want to take their own lives".
Ahmed came to the UK in 2013 after fleeing his hometown of Mosul in Iraq, which was occupied by Isis the year after. Ahmed would be unsafe back home because he is an atheist.
At the time of his release, Ahmed's friend Alvin Pastore said that his release was "[temporary] and subject to detention and deportation". He was given no guarantee that he would be able to continue his studies.
Established three months ago, the Let Ahmed Stay campaign are putting all funds that they raise towards Ahmed's legal case.The BBQ party on Thursday will feature vegan food and a set from local DJ K-Dogg.
Over 300 lecturers signed a letter supporting Ahmed organised by Unis Resist Border Controls. University of Sheffield lecturer Mark Pendleton has described Ahmed's treatment by the Home Office as "appalling".
"Ahmed is an important part of our Sheffield community. We stand with him as he fights for justice and his right to stay in the UK safely."
Full information on Thursday's BBQ event can be found on the Facebook event page.