by Tristan Stewart-Robertson, @SRTristan
A TWICE-refused asylum seeker has made a fresh appeal to stay in Glasgow because she wants to marry a Scottish man more than 20 years her senior.
The woman, who can only be identified as AA, had originally applied for asylum in the UK from Somalia, claiming she had fled the war-torn country in fear, having been raped and forced into prostitution.
But after the Home Office rejected the bid, it emerged AA was from Kenya and had previously lived in the United States. She made a second application and was again refused but in that time had entered into a relationship with 61-year-old XX from the city.
At an appeal hearing at Glasgow's First-Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum), the Home Office representative, Mr Keith Jones, argued that AA's bid to stay should be rejected.
AA's position was that under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the family life she had made in the UK meant she should not return to Kenya.
Mr Jones said the relationship with XX was "built on sand" and that she had a stronger family life in Kenya with her son, parents and a brother.
He told Judge Anne McGavin that XX's evidence was not credible, particularly the fact that he did not even know if AA's parents knew about their relationship.
During evidence, XX said he was very much in love with AA but they had not yet got married because AA needed a valid birth certificate and she had no papers whatsoever.
He said: "At the time I met her, she said she was Somali and had to run away from everything in the war, that she had a very hard life, that she was raped and was press ganged into prostitution, but ran away from it.
"She said she was 36 and at first I had trouble with that - I thought the age gap was kind of big.
"But if it works for Catherine Zeta-Jones, then why not? I happened to fall in love with the girl and I love her to bits."
He added: "It's alright sitting here being comfortable making judgements on people that they shouldn't tell lies. What would I have done? I don't know."
XX's son also gave evidence to the hearing and said he knew AA was from Kenya, "probably from when we were first introduced".
Mr Jones, for the Secretary of State, said that the son's evidence undermined that of his father.
He said: "There are two ways to look at it. One is they are both in on it and both know she is Kenyan and happy to proceed with the deception. Or he has been deceived and is happy to proceed.
"She [AA] has an appalling immigration history in the UK and the US. Expecting AA to return to Kenya is a proportionate interference with Article 8 and I would ask you to dismiss the appeal."
Defence solicitor Mr Andy Knox said the case was a finely balanced Article 8 debate, but that his client had established family life in the UK. He said it would be unreasonable for AA to be removed and then apply for re-entry.
Judge McGavin reserved her decision and said AA would be notified in writing within about two weeks.
Tristan Stewart-Robertson's site can be accessed here [W5 Press Agency]
Copyright remains with the Author.