Advertiser battles to keep journalist in UK

Hassan: received death threats

North east Manchester’s The Advertiser is preparing to launch a campaign to back a Pakistani journalist’s fight to win asylum in the UK.

Mansoor Hassan moved to the UK two years ago, claiming he received death threats after writing a series of articles for regional newspaper Nyadour investigating cases of government corruption.

A reporter at The Advertiser, Louise Nicholson, said Hassan was subjected to beatings at the Multan-based office in Pakistan and his house was later burned down.

Hassan believes the men behind these attacks were the people he exposed.

He told Nicholson: “I had to move house several times, but every time they caught up with us. If we return to Pakistan, we will be killed.”

Hassan has settled in Openshaw, east Manchester, and is doing voluntary work with the Red Cross with his wife and four children. He has applied for asylum on humanitarian grounds, but has been turned down by the Home Office on three occasions.

The Home Office insists Hassan’s life would not be threatened in Pakistan – despite the fact that it accepts he had exposed crimes that had been committed – and he received a letter last week demanding they leave the country.

With a final appeal backed by The Advertiser’s campaign, it is possible that Hassan and his family could qualify for asylum on the basis that they have professional qualifications, under the High Skilled Migration programme.

The NUJ has given its backing to the journalist and is due to meet with the Manchester paper on Thursday to discuss how to take the campaign forward.

The National Coalition of AntiDeportation Campaigns said it would support the family once it had successfully launched a campaign.

The Advertiser launched a similar campaign in 2003, involving a Kosovan family who had fled to the UK after the war. The family’s application was turned down by the Home Office, but following the paper’s campaign, they were allowed to stay.

By Sarah Lagan

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