Nigerian hunger striker back in Britain despite losing asylum bid

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LONDON  (AFP) – A Nigerian asylum seeker believed to be near death from a hunger strike is back in Britain despite losing his bid to stay in the country, as his flight was turned back, his lawyers said on Sunday.

Isa Muazu, 45, from the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, was returned to an immigration removal centre near London’s Heathrow Airport after it was reported that Nigerian authorities refused to allow his plane to land.

Muazu entered Britain in July 2007 on a visitor’s visa but did not leave when it expired in January 2008. Instead, he found work in London.

He said he sought asylum after members of Boko Haram Islamists threatened to kill him unless he joined them. He also claims two members of his family have been killed by the Islamists.

His application to stay in Britain was refused and he was detained by immigration authorities on July 25.

He challenged Interior Minister Theresa May’s decision to keep him in detention and has been on hunger strike for over 100 days.

Britain attempted to deport Muazu on Friday after he exhausted all of his appeals.

But after being refused permission to land, the private plane carrying Muazu stopped in Malta before returning to Britain, according to the BBC.

Britain’s interior ministry refused to comment on the development.

Liberal Democrat politician Roger Roberts criticised the attempts to remove Muazu, saying a doctor last week had judged him “too ill to fly”.

“Goodness knows what state he must be in now, the poor man,” Roberts told the Observer newspaper. “He needs hospital treatment.”

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