A YOUNG Libyan asylum seeker and promising amateur boxer will be able to continue his sporting career in Scotland after the Home Office allowed him to stay, following The Sunday National’s report that revealed how his lack of official status had left him in limbo.

Monther Mesrati, who has completed a Higher National Diploma (HND) in architecture at a college in Dundee, had been waiting for months to go through a “further submissions” process and his lawyer, Usman Aslam, had anticipated a wait of up to a year before a final decision from UK authorities.

However, Aslam was able to tell the 25-year-old yesterday that the Home Office had given him humanitarian protection, a measure applied where an individual is found not to be a refugee under the accepted convention, but is at risk of serious harm should they return to their home country.

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A delighted Mesrati yesterday told The Sunday National: “This decision means everything to me, absolutely everything. I’ve been trying to get on with things and all the time worrying about this but it is amazing.

“Thank God for this, I’ve been waiting so long and I got happy that I was going to get a decision but now I think it’ll take about a week for it to sink in that I’ve really got a decision to allow me to stay.

“It’s been a long time, a long journey and I’ve been waiting for this day.”

Mesrati came to Scotland twice as a visitor to consider his further education options before he went to college here on a six-month student visa in 2015.

The UK Foreign Office even today regards Libya’s security situation as “dangerous and unpredictable” and general conditions as “fragile” – a knock-on effect of the 2011 Arab Spring protests which triggered civil war and the downfall of dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

“Libya is in a state of war and it’s not the safest place to go,” said Mesrati. “The country is corrupt, dangerous and you can’t build a wall to stop people going in or out.”

His bid to renew his student visa was refused because his bank account fell £7 short of the required £8000 balance – just hours before a scheduled payment from his brother would take it above that level.

An active sports lover, he was unable to pursue his horse riding hobby in Dundee but, at 6ft 3ins and weighing in at 200lbs, he fitted seamlessly into the light-heavyweight class when he turned to boxing and joined the Skyaxe gym in Dundee.

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His coach there is Paul Kean, Scotland’s super welterweight champion, who praised Mesrati’s nature and his potential: “He gets on well with everyone at the club and he’s always cheery. He’s a big and fit young man and he’s got potential … sparring with people who have a lot more experience than him and doing really well against them.”

MESRATI said he was continuing his boxing journey: “I’m getting more confident every day. I’ve had more people talking to me about doing things.

“There was a novice championship in November but I missed it because my coach didn’t have enough amateurs to compete … so he said we couldn’t do it.

“But there’s a charity boxing event called Ultra White Collar which is on December 7 and I’m talking to my coach to see if he can match me up with someone in that, so that’s where we are just now.

“I’m also doing my best to try to get into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I still don’t know exactly what’s to be done, but I’ve been focusing, keeping my mind on that.

“You never know, miracles might happen. I’m happy just now but I still can’t believe I’ve got the decision I wanted and I think it’ll take me a few days to realise I can stay in Scotland.”

Aslam, who is one of the immigration specialists at the Glasgow legal practice McGlashan MacKay, said his client was entitled to protection under UK law, which the courts had made clear when it came to Libyan nationals.

He said Mesrati was well regarded in his community and had a bright future in Scotland with a potential boxing career as well as his academic qualifications.

However, he said the unnecessarily expensive and lengthy process had delayed the final decision.

“We are delighted that Monther has now won his case and can get on with his life here,” said Aslam.

“He has a promising boxing career, good qualifications and has so much to offer his community in Scotland.

“It is regrettable that he has had to go through the current further submissions process, where in May we were told that his appointment to submit representations would be in September.

“We are of the view that more pragmatic solutions are on the table which would assist everyone involved in the process, especially in a case like this where the law in respect of Libyan nationals has been made very clear by the courts.”

He added: “We hope to make a difference to the decision making process which is clearly causing unnecessary delays, and affecting people’s lives and an unnecessary cost to the public.

“We are so proud to have assisted Monther in this case and are glad that he found us.”