THE UK Home Office was under fire last night after it issued an order to remove a young asylum seeker from Scotland, despite a legal petition that effectively halts such a move having been lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh – though the Home Office denies this.

Isabella Katjiparatijivi has been living in Glasgow since October 2017 after seeking asylum here because of her sexuality, for which she faces persecution in her home country of Namibia. Immigration lawyers at McGlashan MacKay took the case to court last year, but the ruling went against her.

READ MORE: We’re not at risk from a migrant ‘crisis' – and are doing nothing to help

Katjiparatijivi's lawyer Usman Aslam has hit out at the Home Office, which has disputed several of his claims.

Aslam said that after the initial ruling, an applicant is allowed three months to challenge the decision and the firm was waiting for the final court decision to be distributed.

He told The National: “The Home Office have been very underhanded in this case.

“They had a decision from November last year and served it on us this month, some two months later, and immediately detained Isabella.

“What is worse is that not only have they yet to respond to an abundance of letters we have sent them, they have, through Isabella’s MP, said they aren’t aware of a right to challenge the case by way of judicial review.

“It was regrettable to have to remind them of Section 27A of the Court of Session Act 1988 ... which allows for such a challenge. They are usually the other party in these hearings, ironically enough. What is even more harrowing is that a petition for judicial review was submitted at the Court of Session yesterday, yet they are, today, trying to remove her. McGlashan MacKay Solicitors will continue to fight for Isabella.”

READ MORE: Refugees deserve our sympathy, not the callousness of Tory Britain

The Home Office has disputed the claim that it issued an order to remove Katjiparatijivi, saying there have been no new directions or orders since the judicial review appeal was submitted, and that there was no order to remove her at this time.

It also said that no decision to detain her was made in 2018, and that a letter informing her of the unsuccessful appeal was sent on December 27 and signed for by her on January 3. She was detained on January 8.

Aslam said the LGBT community in Glasgow, in which Katjiparatijivi is active, had vowed to do what it could to help her.

He added: “I sent a letter to the Home Office yesterday saying we want her immediate release because there’s no removal any more, so no reason they should keep her in Dungavel.”

Aslam said that, like other asylum seekers, Katjiparatijivi had to report regularly to the Home Office as some disappeared off the radar, but she had no reason to vanish.

“She’s always adhered to the reporting and she’s fighting her case so she has zero reason to run off anywhere,” he said.

In another case, the Home Office is trying to force an elderly couple to return to Iran from Edinburgh, separating them from their four British-born children, 11 grandchildren and a great-grandchild, Mozaffar Saberi, 83, and his 73-year-old wife Rezvan Habibimarand, bought their home in Edinburgh in the 1970s and live near their close-knit family.

The National:

They also regularly look after aseverely autistic teenage grandson, enabling his mother to continue to work as a NHS nurse.

Over the past five years the couple have made repeated human rights applications to remain in the UK, but the Home Office has refused them all. They have another hearing next month.

Their lawyer, John Vassiliou, said they had been caught out, like many others, by changes to immigration laws brought in by Theresa May when she was home secretary.

He added: “The man’s in his 80s, his wife’s in her 70s and if they’re sent back to Iran they will live out the rest of their days without their family. The Home Office doesn’t care – it says it’s not a relevant factor.”

"The focus of the appeal hearing will be in particular their relationship with their grandson who’s also British. He’s severely autistic and non-verbal, very difficult and he loves in granny and grandpa.

“He loves spending time with them, he visits them a lot and that takes a lot of the pressure off his mother, who is an NHS nurse.

“Their presence here allows him and his mother some semblance of a normal life rather than having to seek care assistance elsewhere. The Home Office’s answer to that is that she can seek assistance from social work and that’s not really satisfactory.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “This Government has a proud record of providing protection for asylum seekers fleeing persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and the UK remains a world leader in its approach to handling this type of asylum claim.

“We are committed to delivering an asylum process that is sensitive to all forms of persecution including those based on sexual identity or orientation.

“However, when someone has no legal right to remain in the UK they should return to their home country.”