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Afghan family row moves to Germany

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Supporters of an Afghan family, who were deported from the UK to Munich after failing in their bid to halt the extradition, have vowed to continue their fight in Germany.

The plight of Farid Ahmadi, his wife Feriba, and their children Hadia, six, and Seear, four, has been highlighted by asylum advocates and human rights activists after they were seized by riot police who stormed a mosque where they had sought sanctuary.

The family failed in a last-minute legal bid to prevent their deportation, after arguing the move would be detrimental to their mental health, and were flown to Munich from an undisclosed UK airport by British authorities.

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Campaigners told the Press Association they would follow the Ahmadi family "to the end of the earth" in their bid to keep them in Britain.

Paul Rowlands, who with his partner Soraya Walton, had tried to make the Ahmadi children wards of court, said campaigners would continue the battle in Germany.

Mr Rowlands, 39, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, said: "This is not the end, it is the start. We have vowed to follow them to the end of the earth to make them happy.

"What we are committed to doing is making sure that the parents are able to bring up their children in a normal family environment where they have not got to suffer any more."

Elane Heffernan, of the Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers, told the news agency the deportation move was "racist and inhumane."

"The Ahmadis had our protection and have been betrayed. The ordinary people of Britain have to fight for a society which is fair and equal," she added.

The family's lawyer, Pierre Makhlouf, told PA the result was "a bitter disappointment."

He said their deportation represented a tough new stance by the British government on asylum seekers and urged Home Secretary David Blunkett to exercise more compassion.

He added: "It is sad that in a case that has so much strength and the Home Office accepts the harm that would be caused to Mrs Ahmadi by being removed, but have still decided to take the action."

The solicitor said the government was exploiting the introduction of the Human Rights Act to enable it to take a tougher stance with immigrants seeking asylum on compassionate grounds by arguing that it was not violating basic human rights.

Britain's Home Office confirmed the Ahmadis had been flown to Germany -- where they made their initial asylum application -- after they were earlier taken from a detention centre near London's Heathrow Airport.

Protesters blocking the path of a four-vehicle convoy as it left the centre with the Ahmadis were pulled aside by police.

Ahmadi, 33, a mechanic, and his 24-year-old wife, who aimed to train as a nurse, fled Taliban-controlled Afghanistan two years ago, saying they had been tortured and persecuted because Ahmadi was the son of an army brigadier who was prominent in the pre-Taliban regime.

They spent seven months in asylum camps after flying to Germany, where they say they suffered racism and religious bigotry before arriving in the UK.

Mrs. Ahmadi suffered two breakdowns and was admitted to hospital twice, her supporters say.

A Home Office spokesman told Reuters news agency: "The government has made it clear that they will take a robust approach to removing people from the country where they have no legal right to be."

Under European law, asylum seekers can have their case heard only in the EU country where they first apply for asylum.

A British judge ruled last Saturday that the Ahmadi children, who had been staying with family friends in Britain, should be held along with their parents in a detention centre until the family was deported.

Speaking to the BBC World Service on Tuesday, Mrs. Ahmadi said: "My friends are here, my family is here, I haven't got any friends or family in Germany. I applied for asylum here - we are happy here.

"When they deport me to Germany, maybe (something) very bad (will) happen with my children and me. I'm so stressed at the moment. Maybe I can't look after my children."




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