'Courageous' journalist wins fight to stay in UK

Manchester journalist Mansoor Hassan is actively seeking work in the UK after he and his family won a six-year battle to remain in the country.

The investigative journalist who fled Pakistan after receiving a series of death threats, is now hoping to find work publicising human rights abuses and has applied for positions in the communication offices of British Red Cross and Oxfam.

The NUJ and weekly free newspaper, the North East Manchester Advertiser, have campaigned against the deportation of Hassan who edited Pakistan’s Crime magazine.

He fled Pakistan in 2002 and claimed asylum in the UK after being beaten up, receiving death threats and having his house set on fire after uncovering allegations of government and police corruption.

His claim was turned down in 2004, as were subsequent appeals, and he and his family were told they should return to Pakistan.

However, under new rules, not on the basis of asylum, he has been allowed to remain in the UK indefinitely in what the Government describes as a legacy case, where applicants must prove they have contributed to the community.

Hassan had been volunteering as a governor at his children’s school and is a Red Cross volunteer.

NUJ deputy general secretary John Fray said: ‘This case should have been dealt with years ago. Mansoor was under threat because he was courageous enough to investigate and report wrongdoing in his country.

‘The Government should have shown commitment to journalistic freedoms and helped protect him from the dangers he would face if forced to return to Pakistan.

‘It’s impossible to imagine what it must be like to live under a constant threat of deportation to a country where your life would be in grave danger. We’re delighted that Mansoor has won his case and thank everyone who backed his campaign.’

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