AN asylum seeker was last night preparing for her release from Dungavel after the UK Home Office did the impossible by postponing an order to remove her which it previously claimed did not exist.

Isabella Katjiparatijivi, from Namibia, had been held at the centre since January 8, when she attended a regular Home Office appointment to be told she would be removed from the country on January 25.

Her lawyer, Usman Aslam, said the order to remove the 29-year-old should have been halted when he lodged a petition at the Court of Session. She had sought asylum when she arrived in Scotland in October 2017, claiming she faced persecution in Namibia because of her sexuality. However, this was rejected, as was her appeal. Nor was she allowed to take it to a higher immigration tribunal.

When The National revealed Katjiparatijivi’s story on Saturday, the Home Office said elements of it were inaccurate.

“We have not made any new removal directions or orders since Ms Katjiparatijivi submitted a Judicial Review to the Court of Session yesterday,” said a spokesperson. “There are no orders to remove Ms Katjiparatijivi on today’s date, the 19th of January.”

However, we had seen the removal directions, dated January 18, in which she was due to be sent back to Namibia on January 25, prompting Aslam to accuse them of “lying”.

The National:

Last night, the Home Office was believed to be reviewing Katjiparatijivi’s case to consider its next moves.

Aslam told The National they emailed him yesterday morning, confirming that the removal has been deferred.

He said last night: “McGlashan MacKay Solicitors are proud to have fought what was in our view, unfair process. I’m pleased to hear that Isabella is being released from detention. There was no need for her to be there in the first place.

“I am perplexed as to why the Home Office disputed the existence of the removal directions, after they had issued them, and then contacted me to say they had been stopped. I would hope that this example will shift the thinking behind the detention process in general. We will fight to the end with our clients.”

The case was also raised in the Commons yesterday, when the woman’s MP, Chris Stephens, asked Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes: “The National newspaper this morning reports of a female constituent who is detained and is due to be removed tomorrow despite court

papers being lodged at the Court of Session at the start of the month. Is this the hostile environment in action and either way will the minister meet me urgently so we can secure the immediate release of this constituent?”

Nokes agreed to meet the SNP member later, saying it would be “inappropriate” to discuss it on the floor of the House.

Stephens told The National: “I am delighted that Isabella Katjiparatijivi has now been released from detention – but the UK Government still has serious questions to answer. Ms Katjiparatijivi must now receive a written apology from the Secretary of State and there should be an urgent inquiry into how this happened ...

“This ordeal once again highlights the need for wholesale reform of the UK’s immigration and asylum system, which remains inhumane and sees far too many suffer.”

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Rugby player grandson of Mozaffar Saberi and wife Rezvan Habibimarand, has said he was “devastated” that the Home Office was forcing them to leave the country and their family of four children, 11 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Damien Hoyland tweeted: “Please help my family’s cause by signing our petition to overturn the Home Office’s decision.”