LONDON: An Iraqi man who saved his baby niece by bringing her to the UK illegally has been granted leave to remain following years of legal attempts by the Home Office to deport him, The Guardian reported.
Najat Ibrahim Ismail, who arrived in Britain in 2004, saved his niece, Rwen Tahsin Ibrahim, then only 7 months old, after she had sustained significant burn injuries in a French refugee camp.
Her parents had fled Iraq following the expansion of Daesh and in 2016 had traveled to France.
Ismail, 35, heard the news of his relative’s injuries and traveled to Dunkirk, where he drove his niece back to Britain illegally in a bid to give her access to urgent medical care.
In 2017, he was prosecuted for assisting illegal entry into the UK.
As a result, the UK Home Office pursued his deportation three times, but to no avail.
Now the 35-year-old, who is married to a British woman and has three children, has been granted leave to remain following years of legal campaigning by his solicitor.
His niece — whose family has also been given leave to remain — has since made a full recovery following the 2016 incident and is now in school.
Ismail said: “For the first time I can sleep well. I’m the happiest person in the world and I can’t stop smiling.
“I can’t thank my solicitor enough. She saved my life.”
Though a judge condemned Ismail’s actions in assisting the illegal entry, they said: “I do accept that you were not a person who was trafficking for gain. These were family members you decided to assist.”
Hannah Baynes, Ismail’s solicitor, said: “We are very pleased that Najat will be allowed to remain in the UK after so many years of uncertainty.
“The judge acknowledged that there was a risk of Najat’s mental health deteriorating if he was forced to live separately from his family in Iraq, where he has a well-founded fear of persecution.”