Home Office trying to send gay teenager back to Syria with £46

// 29 April 2008

The system is broken. Via Shakesville, and the the Scotsman comes the story of Jojo Jako Yakob, a 19 year-old Syrian whose application for asylum the Home Office has refused.

It has been refused despite the fact that Yakob was jailed for distributing anti-government leaflets in Syria, where he was been beaten “so badly that he slipped into a coma”, when prison guards found out he was gay. The government plans to deport Yakob back to Syria in one week and two days, according to the Save Jojo campaign, although he faces possible execution.

Last night, ‘Save Jojo’ campaigners criticised the UK Border Agency for sending Yakob, who is currently being detained at Polmont Young Offenders Institution in Falkirk, a “weekly” letter, asking his permission to be “repatriated” back to Syria.

A spokesman for the campaign said the agency has offered Jojo £46 “in cash” on leaving the United Kingdom “to assist you in reintegrating into your home country. This could be used for example to set up a business, further your education or assist with housing”.

Check out the Save Jojo campaign for more information on how you can help – if you’re reading this in Scotland, you can write to your MSP and ask them to sign a cross-party motion calling for a moratorium on deporting gay and lesbian asylum seekers who fear they will be persecuted in their home country. Click here to see if your MSP has signed the motion.

Comments From You

Omar Kudus // Posted 13 July 2008 at 3:36 pm

ON the 25th of June 2008 British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, said:

‘In the 21st century, no one should ever feel under threat of verbal or physical violence just because of their sexual orientation.’

She echoed the sentiments of the United Nations High Commissioner Louise Arbour made in November 2007 who said in her statement;

“Just as it would be unthinkable to exclude some from protection on the bases of race, religion or social status, so too must we reject any attempt to do the same on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The Yogyakarta Principals were a timely reminder of these basic tenets.

They say that he pen is mightier than the sword, but spoken words can be just as effective and damaging, both physically and mentally as any form of violence, and only those who have experienced it first hand know the true damage and hurt that it causes.

It is therefore humbly requested an petitioned by the undersigned, that the British Home Secretary ask a ministerial action group to tackle homophobia, in all walks of life. It breeds and is allowed to exist due to the fact that homosexuals are by definition treated differently and the laws governing their conduct or malaise different from the general population and thus creating apartheid.

However as sexual orientation is just as much a fundamental human right as any other it should be respected and treated as such; with equality, so the confusion that how different human beings can be treated or what is acceptable is irradicated by all individuals and public authorities and the phenomenon of “judicial difference” too.

Thus in doing so, also enforcing Article 13, the Right to an Effective Remedy of the Human Rights Act 1998 along with Article 14: Prohibition on Discrimination.

Thus the undersigned petition, Equality regardless of sexuality. So their rights as Human Beings is respected and can live without angst, as stated by the British Home Secretary and others, where the aims and effects are prima facie discriminatory

Aziz // Posted 5 August 2008 at 8:28 am


I write to say that I feel what Yakob feel, and I know how his suffering is. It will be very hard for him to be deported to his native land – Syria. According to me, it is very insensitive and cruel to suggest him to live in Syria while keeping his sexual orientation status under wraps in his daily life there. Human right of every individual must be upheld. He has the right to live by expressing his sexual orientation without having to face intimidation, insult, threats, and other kinds of persecution from state or non-state actors. He will not be able to find this right in Syria therefore to send him back to Syria is contrary to human right.

Everyone must believe that gay is an innate and unchangeable characteristic of somebody, and is very fundamental for him. Therefore to ask somebody to mask his sexual orientation identity constitutes a persecution because that is not the normal way to live.

I hope there is someone or institutions there that could help him to influence the Home Office’s ruling in UK to prevent him from deportation if not his future will be gloomy in Syria.


Nine // Posted 4 October 2008 at 4:09 pm

Update: Jojo’s final appeal has been rejected. A Facebook group has been set up – check it out for news and actions: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=29580818484&ref=mf

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds