News staff have received death threats after running a campaign to keep an asylum-seeker in the UK.
The North East Manchester Advertiser last month launched a campaign to stop the deportation of journalist Mansoor Hassan, who fled Pakistan after uncovering government corruption.
Since then several abusive letters, many of which threaten violence, have been received by the newspaper, and security has now been stepped up at its east Manchester offices.
Editor Gerry Sammon said: “We’re assuming that they are empty threats, but obviously we are concerned.
“The police have taken fingerprint evidence and could be looking to press charges for incitement of racial hatred.”
The Advertiser stepped in to help asylum-seeker Mansoor after his bid for asylum and two appeals were all turned down.
He and his family had been living in Openshaw in east Manchester, but since the campaign launched they have received physical and verbal abuse, forcing them to move to a secret address in another area of the city.
Death threats then began arriving at the Advertiser’s offices, and deputy editor Chris Humphries also received a phone call from a man repeating the threats.
Gerry said: “Whoever is responsible for forcing them out of their home is presumably also trying to stop our campaign – but we are not going to back down.
“We have been suprised by the reaction of a vocal minority. We ran a previous campaign about six months ago concerning an asylum-seeking family from Kosovo with tremendous success.
“We think the sole reason for the reaction this time is that the family is from Pakistan.
“We can’t let a minority of racist louts stifle what we are doing and we will continue to bolster the support which we have had.”
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