THE family of an asylum seeker found dead in a Scottish hotel have appealed for help to bring his body home. The death of Adnan Olbeh caused shock and anger when it was revealed on Sunday.

Emergency services had been called to McLays Hotel in Glasgow five days earlier.

While reports initially suggested he had taken his own life, police are treating the death as unexplained and friends say it may have been accidental.

It is understood that Mr Olbeh, who told friends he had been imprisoned and tortured before reaching Europe, had begun using low-cost street drugs while in the UK asylum system.

He had been placed at McLays Hotel with scores of other asylum seekers by Home Office contractor Mears Group. Around 500 people have been moved from their accommodation into hostelries by Mears, which claims this is necessary due to problems securing lets during the pandemic.

Friends say the 30-year-old Syrian national had sought help for mental health problems which were made worse by that move, which has seen those affected lose their small substance payments and much of their privacy.

Meals must be taken together and bathroom facilities are shared and those affected have raised fears about the lack of social distancing.

A friend of Mr Olbeh told The National how he “had a dream” and wanted to gain refugee status and the right to work in order to send money back to family in Syria.

It is understood that he was sent to Glasgow after arriving in England under the UK Government’s dispersal scheme.

On Sunday night, Mears Group said it was “deeply sad” about Mr Olbeh’s death and working with the Home Office to contact his family.

But the charity Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) has confirmed it was contacted by Mr Olbeh’s relatives for help to secure the repatriation of his body several days earlier.

Yesterday family members spoke with the organisation about the operation, which will be complicated by the pandemic.

PAIH previously helped with the repatriation of an Iraqi man whose body was kept in a Kent mortuary for seven years after he died while trying to enter the UK, and with the case of Nepalese man Uddhav Bhandari, who died after setting himself alight in the Glasgow immigration and appeal tribunal offices in 2007.

Its director Robina Qureshi said: “In common with millions of Syrians, Adnan’s parents and siblings are scattered and separated all over the world.

“Adnan’s family members assumed that he was safe in Scotland after a tortuous journey from his homeland.

“We aren’t sure how much his family know of his last few months in Glasgow, perhaps he hid the extent of his trauma in order to avoid upsetting them, as many often do.

“The family want to properly mourn and bury Adnan according to their culture and Islamic tradition. If that proves impossible, then we hope that a dignified Muslim burial can be arranged in Glasgow.”