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(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

‘Inhumane & cruel’

U.K. attempts to deport woman in coma, despite knowing it could lead to her death

By WITW Staff on May 14, 2019

An attempt by Britain’s Home Office to deport a woman in a medical coma has exposed the Conservative government’s efforts to remove as many non-British nationals from the country as possible regardless of the risk posed to people’s lives, according to opposition politicians and activists.

Bhavani Esapathi, 31, an Indian national and east London resident living in the U.K. on student and work visas since 2010, had an application to stay in the U.K. denied on human rights medical grounds by the home office last September, while she was in a nearly two-week long vegetative state in the wake of a major surgery.

According to a letter signed by surgeons working at St. Mark’s Hospital, where Esapathi is being treated for Crohn’s disease, it is “of vital importance” that she continue to receive treatment at the hospital due to the “highly complex” nature of the “surgical and medical management” her case requires.

“This also means that, both now and after her surgery in 2019, Bhavani will not be able to travel due to her ongoing need for specialist care in our hospital as her recovery after her next operation is likely to be protracted and complex,” the letter read.

Despite doctors’ suggestion that deporting Esapathi would effectively be sentencing her to death, the Home Office’s refusal letter claimed that “this does not entitle you to remain here” even if leaving the country meant that “[your] illness deteriorates or you are unable to access treatment.” The letter further claimed that her deportation would cause “no insurmountable obstacles” to her relationship with her fiance Martin Mangler, whose job as a volcanologist “[depends] on him staying in the U.K.,” according to Espathi’s application.

According to Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, cases such as Esapathi’s exemplify the “cruel and insensitive” policies “inflicted on vulnerable people” by a rampantly anti-immigrant Conservative government. Chai Patel, legal director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, went further, describing the “inhumane and cruel” decision as unsurprising “from a department where officials are trained in how to reject human rights claims, and incentivized to issue removal orders.”

“At the moment,” he added, “the law allows the Home Office to send people to their death abroad.”

Read the full story at The Independent.

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