Simpson Millar LLP Represents Syrian Raja Khouja in Fight Against Deportation


  • Saudi religious police the 'Mutawa' have made repeated death threats against deportee
  • Activist couple remanded at Yarl's Wood ready for deportation on June 25
  • Accusations made over mistreatment and withholding of medicines at Yarl’s Wood
  • Outside volunteers forced to demand access for husband's diabetes treatment
  • Demonstrations planned at Leeds immigration and removal centre today

Raja and Mahmoud

Our specialist immigration team are fighting a battle against the clock to stop the deportation of an elderly woman and her husband to Saudi Arabia.

Fearing a life of imprisonment, torture or death because she is an outspoken women's rights activist, Syrian born Raja Bachir Khouja (56) and her Saudi husband Mahmoud Alhassan (67) were arrested and detained at the Yarl's Wood detention centre on June 5th in preparation for deportation on June 25.

Specialist immigration solicitor Emma Brooksbank of Simpson Millar LLP is representing the pair, she comments:

"They are struggling in detention, not least because Mahmoud is diabetic and medication dependent. His medication is kept locked away and is not always provided when he requests it. It is essential that he takes his medication as soon as he eats in order to manage his condition."

"Incredibly, they are facing removal to Saudi Arabia, despite having lived in Syria for over 13 years before the war broke out. They have been in the UK since November 2010 having originally arrived on tourist visas and having made several applications to remain. They have always complied and are not at risk of becoming absconders."

"Ironically, just two days before they were remanded to Yarl's Wood, Raja and Mahmoud were celebrating, having appeared in court in Sheffield where a judge had granted them continuing housing benefit and support, wishing them well in their asylum application."

A judicial review was lodged against the decision to remove them from the UK which was rejected on June 10. An urgent renewal application has been submitted to the Court and is under consideration.

"Raja has been hounded from afar by the Saudi-based Mutawa", adds Emma Brooksbank, "They are Islamic Religious police who enforce Sharia law under the guise of something called 'the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice'. She received at least three threats on her life for actions such as observing International Women’s Day Festivals and writing articles promoting the rights of women to vote, show their faces in public, drive a car, and so on."

Today, from 12:30 to 1:30, a protest will be held outside Waterside Court immigration and removal centre on Kirkstall Road.

"More than 40 of Raja and Mahmoud’s friends have determined to come to show their support for this lovely couple. There is a huge amount of support for them from friends in Leeds and across the region. We’ll do everything we can to reverse this decision as they are clearly at a severe risk should they return to Saudi Arabia."

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