News / International
Zimbabwe man fights UK deportation
13 Mar 2017 at 07:52hrs | Views
MANCHESTER - Thousands of people are calling on the government to allow a heroic asylum seeker to stay in the country.
Robert Chilowa helped save his neighbour's children from a burning house - but has been told to get out of Britain.
Robert, 46, raced towards the ferocious blaze which engulfed his neighbour's home after hearing screams of terror from the children trapped inside.
He helped to rescue two youngsters from the flames which claimed the lives of their grandparents.
But he is now fighting to save his home in Withington after being told he has outstayed his welcome in the UK.
The father-of-two, who has lived in the UK for 16 years, is facing deportation back to Zimbabwe, where he says he fears for his safety.
Robert is currently in the process of appealing the decision. He is likely to be told for certain whether or not he can stay in the UK in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, a petition calling for the Home Office to reconsider their decision has been signed by almost 7,000 people.
Organisers hope to deliver the petition to Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
A statement on the petition website reads: "One of the Home Office requirements for being granted a status is good character, this act of bravery is good character especially in today's world whereby he could have chosen to be a bystander and take pictures from afar.
"Robert did not commit any crime but saved lives, he deserves recognition not psychological persecution from the Home Office. Let's save this gentle giant."
Police and fire chiefs said more lives could have been lost if it wasn't for Robert's "noble" actions along with other neighbours.
He ran to the house in his bare feet when fire broke out calling up to the youngsters to jump and he would catch them.
Three girls, a boy and their uncle were taken to hospital after the fire in the early hours of February 10.
Grandparents Mohammed Awad, 56, and Hasma Awad, 47, died at the scene.
Immigration officials have told Robert he must leave the UK as there was "no case to answer" over his application to stay.
Hospitalised for smoke inhalation, he has been told to stop using the NHS and not to claim benefits or get alternative accommodation from the local council.
The Home Office previously stated that those who do not need protection will be expected to leave the UK.
Source - Agencies