‘Justice or death’: Moss Side father on 23-day hunger strike faces torture and persecution if deported to Algeria

Exclusive by Danielle Wainwright

When Houcine Senoussaoui gazes at his three young children in their Moss Side home, he is reminded of why he began his agonising 23-day hunger strike.

He has faced 13 years of asylum rejection in the UK and as the threat of deportation looms over him, the pain of hunger is nothing compared to the torture and political persecution he faces if he is forced to return to his home country of Algeria.

He left the country after years of Civil War and  met his Bosnian wife Alma when providing humanitarian aid during the Bosnian war and moved to the UK in 2000 where they raised their three children.

Yet after another rejection for asylum on July 12, 44-year-old Houcine took drastic measures to ensure his family would live peacefully in the UK.

After standing trial on charges of terrorism charge in an Italian court, for which he was later pardoned, Houcine is not allowed to stay in the country, but is instead told he is able to settle in Bosnia.

As the Bosnian state authorities operate a policy of returning those originally from Arabic countries to their homes of origin, without regard to their family, children or any ties to Bosnia, there is the likelihood that Houcine would be sent directly to Algeria immediately upon arrival in Bosnia. 

Houcine explains: “Why have I gone on hunger strike?  Is there any other way, is there any other door to open to stop this injustice?  I gave them proof after proof but they closed their eyes and ears, not wanting to see or hear the truth.  Do they know the truth about us better than we do?”

“They act against me without proof.  I feel that they dealt with me in an inhuman way.  Eat, sleep, drink is nothing without my dignity and the ability to protect my family. That’s why I’m not going to stop my hunger strike until I get my rights and my dignity as a human being.”

Houcine is preparing to re-appeal and has enlisted the help of Manchester-based human rights organisation RAPAR and Human Rights lawyer Gary Mcindoe to represent his case.

Gray Mcindoe, Huicine’s lawyer, told MM: “Part of the problem is that due to government cuts the appealing process has become so slow,” he said.

“The Home Office accept that he faces persecution if he returns to Algeria however the problem is that if he is returned to Bosnia, there is a good chance they will deport him back to Algeria from there.”

Dr Rhetta Moran, Researching and Learning Consultant of RAPAR, said: “It is an incredibly difficult situation, He has lived here for 13 years and has continually been denied asylum.

“He is sitting at home with his wife and three children in complete limbo not knowing what is happening.

“What is frustrating is that he can do nothing to control what may happen to him, except what goes inside of him.

“The hunger strike means that he is able to communicate and have a voice against the travesty that he has experienced.”

However the UK Border Agency feel that Houcine and his family can safely return to Bosnia without threat.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Office only returns individuals if both we and the courts are satisfied they do not qualify for protection and have no legal basis to remain in the country.

“All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules. The onus is on the individual to provide the necessary evidence to support their application.

“When someone is found not to have a right to be here, we expect them to leave voluntarily. If they fail to do so, we will seek to remove them.”

For more information and to pledge your support for Houcine and his family, please click here.

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