A 51 year old Algerian man has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for affray (!?) for threatening to set fire to himself in Liverpool MP Louise Ellman's constituency office last September after he feared his 16-year battle to stay in the country had failed. Smelling petrol, the MP went into the corridor outside to find Abdel Zahali doused in petrol and holding a lighter.
In court his barrister claimed Mr Zahali had taken the drastic step because he felt he was “at the end of the road,” that he "had previously attempted suicide... (&) ...believed this was the only way.” Despite Mr Zahali's conviction, it is beleived that he will be given leave to stay after all, not that some of the posters of comments on the newspaper's website concurred. Unfortunately this sort of article is a magnet for all the ignorant closet racists out there, with one even going as far as claiming that the man's action "was point blank terrorism by alternative means"!
Also, last week (18 December) a teenage Afghan, believed to be another asylum seeker, ctually managed to set fire to himself outside the UKBA's Waterside Court reporting centre and short-term holding facility in Leeds. He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary after suffering extensive burns and the latest news is that he is in a critical but stable condition.