Wrongly branded as sex offender, Bangladeshi chef fights deportation in UK


Dhaka, July 07: Devastated by wrongful labeling of a sex offender and over decade-long legal fights, a Bangladeshi chef in the United Kingdom wants the Home Office safeguards his right to stay with dignity instead of removing him from the country.

Saiful Islam, 44, who moved to the UK in 2003 to work in a restaurant with valid legal documents, also pleaded for a compensation of £40,000 he had to spend to prove his innocence by the court, as against £5,000 offered by the Home Office.

Despite the compensation offer made in late 2019 for wrongly linking him with three others’ criminal records, Islam, who lives in Cardiff, is facing removal for not having a work permit when he submitted the application for staying in the UK in 2008 – the initial stage of legal battle to free him from the stigma of sex offender tag.

A number of UK-based news media published reports at different times on the ordeals that began in 2005 when he raised concerns about working conditions with his then employers, alerting the police and the Home Office.

His files were later mixed up with those of three other people, resulting in criminal convictions being wrongly attached to his name and curtailment of his permit though he was not served with any notification in this regard.

British officials were also unable to produce any proof to show any wrongdoings by the Bangladeshi chef during court proceedings against him.

The Home Office in 2019 apologised to Islam for the mix-up, admitting that three other people’s records had been attributed to him on the police national computer and offered to pay him £5,000 in compensation but he was still denied stay permit by the court.

The court ruled that errors by the Home Office did not affect the decision to reject Islam’s application to stay in the UK, which was based on a 2008 application being refused as he did not have a work permit.

“Along with wrongly attaching criminal convictions to his name, the errors included destroying part of his file and withholding it in a previous court case, and not providing relevant pages of his passport which proved he had entered the country legally, which Mr Islam maintains are the reasons he did not have a permit in 2008,” reads a newspaper report.

The upper tribunal Judge Jackson of the immigration chamber ruled that there had been “a number of errors” and “historic injustice” in the handling of Mr Islam’s applications over a number of years, but documents “did not support” his claim that these directly led to his situation “nor was there any confirmation that he was still required in a particular employment”.

Talking to themorningbellbd.com over phone last week, Islam vowed to continue with the fight for establishing his right to stay in the UK and for realising the compensation of nearly £40,000 he has spent so far on fighting the legal battle with 18 court cases’.

The criminal convictions that were wrongly attached to his name affected his application of 2008, Islam said adding he believes in humanity and therefore expects support from all quarters to get established his right to remain in the UK.

“The Home Office has treated me worse than a dog. I am a victim of a scandal and of race discrimination. I have lost so many years, I’ve lost my health, I’ve lost so much money. I’ll never get this time back but I’m determined to fight on,” a UK-based news portal quoted Islam as saying on its January 3, 2020 issue.

However, in a recent report published in Wales Online, a Home Office spokesperson said, “All applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence provided and in accordance with the immigration rules.”

“It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing,” said the spokesperson.