AddThis SmartLayers

Relief for refugees

Two Kosovan refugees, stranded in Exeter by bureaucratic wrangling, are on their way home after their plight was highlighted by the Express & Echo.

Kastriot Bakiaj and Altan Sinani, along with Kastriot’s pregnant wife, had fled the conflict in their homeland. But the two men became separated from Kastriot’s wife and ended up in Britain, where they applied for asylum.

Then they heard that Kastriot’s wife had been deported from Belgium, and it was believed she had been sent back to Albania. The two men withdrew their applications for asylum and wanted to fly out to find her – but immigration officials said they could not leave Britain because they did not have passports or other identification papers.

Meanwhile, Devon social services had to pay £150 a week to house the men in this country while their solicitor appealed directly to Home Secretary Jack Straw.

After the Express & Echo picked up on their plight and ran several stories, a mercy flight was arranged by the Home Office with the International Organisation for Migration, allowing the men to leave.

Do you have a story for us?
Ring the HoldTheFrontPage newsdesk on
01332 291111 x6022, or e-mail us now