We are delighted to let you know that Victor has been released from immigration detention this afternoon and is currently on his way back to Sheffield. We were able to speak to him briefly a short time ago; he is incredibly grateful for all the support he received and is in good spirits.
Of course, he is also immensely relieved that this nightmare is over - for now at least. The Home Office have only given him a temporary reprieve of three months. We are therefore keeping the petition open, until we can be absolutely sure that Victor is safe.
ASSIST is a small Sheffield charity, so we have been absolutely bowled over by the response to our petition - more than 70,000 of you have signed from all parts of the country and beyond. We have tried to keep up with the many comments and messages people have sent. Lots and lots of you speak with such warmth of Victor and about how he has touched the lives of so many through his community work. Many of you are also expressing your shock and outrage at the Home Office plans to deport anybody back to Zimbabwe, given the arrests and ill-treatment of anybody voicing their opposition to the government.
We at ASSIST hope that our efforts to keep Victor safe can feed into wider campaigning efforts to make the Home Office drop its callous plans to deport people, many of whom have put down roots in UK communities. If you would like to get involved, please watch this space and/or find out what you can do in your locality to protect Zimbabwean asylum seekers from deportation. One thing you can definitely do is to contact your MP and ask them to demand the Home Office drops their plans immediately.
If you live in South Yorkshire, please make sure to join the protest organised by SYMAAG ('No Deportations to Zimbabwe') on Tuesday 19th February at 9am outside Vulcan House, the local Home Office building (6 Millsands). And tell your friends and family as well!
To find out more about ASSIST Sheffield and how you can support the work of our charity, please have a look at our website: www.assistsheffield.org.uk Please also look for us on Facebook and Twitter @ASSISTSheffield
We will go home now, breathe a deep sigh of relief and hopefully get back to you with a message from the man himself soon.