Glasgow’s Robert Makutsa is denied asylum bail as loved ones vow to fight on

Nathanael Williams

The week after he was supposed to be married Robert Makutsa, a staple of Glasgow’s music scene, faces extended detention and deportation

ROBERT MAKUTSA, a Glasgow resident and Kenyan national, has been denied bail today (Tuesday 14 February) by an asylum bail tribunal at the Eagle building in Glasgow.

The 31-year-old sound engineer, currently being held in Colnbrook immigration detention centre in Berkshire, was not considered at risk of breaking asylum bail but is being held while detention services assess his asylum claim which could see him sent to Kenya.

Makutsa who has no living relatives or place to live in Kenya has lived and worked legally in Scotland for eight years and was initially detained after the UK Home Office ruled he had stayed in the country longer than he was allowed.

Due to be married last week, Makutsa made an application to remain last year but wasn’t told of its failure until he was arrested in November last year.

Friends, work colleagues and his fiancee reacted negatively to the news which will see him kept in detention while his health declines.

Speaking to CommonSpace a distraught Chloe, a student and fiancee of Makutsa, said: “It’s frustrating and tiring but it’s another hurdle we have to get over. We just need to keep plugging away. That’s the state of the system.”

Chloe and Robert have been in a committed relationship for over two years.

Sabina Wortley, legal counsel for Makutsa, stated that there were three grounds for his bail to be granted. First that he has cooperated with the Home Office in all ways having maintained contact during his period where he had a ‘right of stay’ and during previous bail periods and applications.

Secondly, he had kept in line will all rules such as not working, which applicants on certain visa and asylum are not allowed to do.

This is despite Makusta having a sponsor in Glasgow, a job waiting for him and having turned down job offers whilst on asylum bail.

“We just need to keep plugging away. That’s the state of the system.” Chloe Reis

Thirdly, it was expressed that the Home Office had not taken into account the conditions that he would be living in if sent back to Kenya where he has not family, credit or roots. Additionally that if he is to properly have his asylum case reviewed in an impartial manner it would be better for him to be out of detention and able to directly contact the experts both health and asylum arraigned to aid him.

The argument of the Home Office was that Makusta was “spinning” his way to lengthen out the asylum process and that the only legal path was for him to return to Kenya to apply for entry to the UK on a ‘partner visa’.

Richie Wilson, a friend and production manager who worked with Makusta told CommonSpace: “Well this is the kind of country we live in now. This is what we’ve become. It’s getting worse and worse. Robert’s in a catch 22 situation where he’s forced into a corner regardless of what he’s done or who he has here. His connections are here, he’s already got a guarantor here. It’s disgraceful.”

“Well this is the kind of country we live in now. This is what we’ve become. It’s getting worse and worse. Robert’s in a catch 22 situation.” Richie Wilson

Friends of Makusta say that apart from the risk posed to his well being of going back to Kenya, there is a risk of him being permanently separated from his fiancee whom he met while studying in Scotland.

Whatsmore in order to qualify for a ‘partner visa’ a partner of the applicant must earn over £18,500. However as Chloe Reis is currently a student, it is likely to be a number of years before this Home Office requirement can be met.

According to the Migration Observatory of the University of Oxford, the UK immigration detention service holds one of the largest in Europe with 2,500 to 3,500 migrants being held in detention at any given time from 2009 until the end of 2015. The body has approximated the daily cost of detention at an average of £91 a day.

Robert Makusta’s case will be assessed within a two week to eight week period at which point a decision on his new asylum application and stay will be decided upon.

Picture property of Kate Christie

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