Dungavel Detained Stirling University student granted bail

24 August 2023

Detained Stirling University student Muhammad Raud Waris was granted bail this morning, leading to his expected release from Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre where he had been detained for more than two months for alleged visa breaches.

SNP MP for Stirling, Alyn Smith, who had advocated for an explanation for Waris's detention in a letter to the Home Office on August 12, expressed his relief at the news of Waris's impending release. Smith questioned the prolonged duration of Waris's detention and the slow progress of his case, stating, "But the question remains how on earth was he kept in so long and why on earth did his case go so slowly?"

A spokesperson for Waris conveyed their hope for his return to a normal life, expressing their absolute delight at his bail and anticipating his imminent release from Dungavel. They stated, "We shall now focus solely on trying to resolve the matters surrounding the revocation of his student visa as he continues to deny the allegations against him. We hope that thereafter he can continue to focus on his studies and get back to his normal life."

In an exclusive interview with The National, Waris, a Pakistani national, shared his belief that he had been unjustly detained by immigration officers, leading to mental and physical suffering. Waris was arrested at his workplace on June 15 and has remained in Home Office custody since then. He explained that he had been commuting between Stirling and Rutherglen, where he was staying in Scotland, and had been working at a grocery shop in Glasgow, where the Home Office alleged he had exceeded the legally-permitted number of working hours for a student visa.

While foreigners studying in the UK can work up to 20 hours on a student visa, the Home Office claimed to possess credible evidence of Waris's breach, although they have refused to share this evidence with The National.

Waris, in his conversation with The National, described his experience at Dungavel as "mental torture." He stated, "I am already suffering the sickness when I try to eat...have just a little bit bite to eat. I even request a doctor to refer me to a hospital, but she said, according to our examination, you don’t need it. I don’t know why she said it. I am on medication for more than two months – anxiety, stress, sleeping, painkillers morning and at nighttime."

Waris expressed his desire to resume his studies upon release, emphasizing, "I am a student, I need to make my degree, my degree is my priority, goal, and ambition."

Smith remarked on the pressures faced by Home Office officials and advocated for the transfer of immigration powers to Holyrood, where he believes a better, fairer, and potentially more cost-effective system can be designed. He concluded, "But tonight at least I'm glad that he is with his friends and family and glad I was able to help."

When contacted for comment, the Home Office stated that they couldn't provide specific details on individual cases.

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