Safety for Maurice
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My persecution under the dictator Kabila in Congo
My name is Maurice Luzolo. I am from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and came to the UK in 2010. I applied for asylum on the day I arrived. I came to the UK because I had problems with my government, led by the dictator Kabila. The government was killing people all the time in this period, including people from the anti-Kabila activist group AJBRC which I belong to. With the AJBRC I protested all the time against President Kabila, saying “No Kabila, no Kabila!” I was arrested several times because of this. The final time, I was in prison for a long time. This time was very terrible. We had no toilet in the cell. We eat in the same place and do our toilet in the same place. After finishing our toilet, we take everything into our hands and throw it in a bin. Every day they took someone and killed him. Every day they kicked us with heavy boots and beat us with rubber batons. They wouldn’t stop. They’d say: ‘This time we will kill you’. I was very injured in prison. I was in this prison for five months. I can’t remember everything clearly. I think this is because of all the beatings and the injuries which made problems in my head. After some time, my uncle came and gave money to the security police. One night, three policemen took me and I thought they would kill me. They put me in the car. They said: ‘Go. Never come again. Your uncle gave us money’. The car took me to my uncle. My uncle told me that one day, when I was in prison, the police came to my house and killed my wife. After hearing this terrible news, I decided to move to Brazzaville. My uncle lent me money to pay a lady who helped me with my travels from Brazzaville via Ethiopia to the UK.
Refused asylum in the UK
On my first day in the UK I applied for asylum. The Home Office sent me to Liverpool. After my interview the Home Office gave me a house to live in Manchester. I was in a very bad condition and all the time I would go and see my doctor. The doctor first gave me some treatment because I could not sleep and after that sent me to get therapy. After three months, the Home Office refused my asylum claim. They said that they did not believe my case. My solicitor helped me prepare an appeal. We got evidence from DRC and my solicitor also sent me to a special doctor in Halifax for a medical report. The doctor confirmed that I was tortured. But the Home Office and the appeal judge did not want to believe me or my doctor. The judge said that every document I gave to them is false. They didn’t believe my story because the dates in my story would always change. This is because my mind can’t remember everything that happened clearly and I forgot the dates. I think my mind does this because of all the beatings in prison occurring all the time. But the judge did not even consider my mental state. For me, the judge’s decision was not right and unfair.
I had started to attend college, but I stopped in this period. Sometimes I remember everything but sometimes nothing. I still have flashbacks at some times where everything that happened in prison comes back to me. Especially when I see the police, even on TV, everything comes back to me. My life at the moment is not easy. Despite everything, I have managed to make a new family here, my wife is also an asylum seeker. We have a son together but we are not allowed to live together. It is not easy, because the Home Office does not allow me to work and my family lives far away. I don’t even have money to go and see my family. I don’t have a house but live at my friend’s place. Sometimes my friend says you have to go out, search for another friend and stay there. That’s not good for my life. I feel unstable and insecure. Every time when I see my son, he asks me: ‘Why don’t we live together dad?’. I cannot give him an answer on this. It is very painful for me.
Continuing to fight for justice in the UK
Since I was rejected in 2011 I continue to demonstrate all the time against the crimes of the Kabila government in DRC. I go to London, sometimes Manchester, for demonstrations, where I shout “No Kabila, no Kabila!”
I am also a volunteer for the Boaz Trust in Manchester. I have worked there for five years and seven months. Asylum seekers come and I give them food and help. By volunteering there, it makes me feel good to be around other people that I can help.
I have never stopped fighting for my safety and the right to live my life. At the moment, I am preparing a fresh asylum claim, with support from RAPAR. I must overturn what happened in the court in 2011. I must prove that the judge was wrong to ignore the physical and psychological scars of torture. I am gathering evidence for this now, to prove the truth of what happened to me in DRC.
Sign Maurice's petition here.
Thursday 4 May 2017 Maurice Luzolo was detained at Dallas Court, Salford.
24th May 2017: Maurice was released from detention and has returned to Manchester. As a victim of torture, his detention was unlawful in any case. His battle for leave to remain in the UK continues.