Mashal Jabari (right) with his older brother who has already gained refugee status

Mashal Jabari has been released, the emergency campaign spearheaded by the Welsh Refugee Council has managed to release a 14-year-old Afghan orphan from detention.

Staff at the Cardiff office of the UK Border Agency had insisted that he was 18 and held him in adult detention ahead of deportation next week. He was released from Campsfield House IRC early yesterday evening following a Judicial Review where the Judge ruled that at present – until another full age assessment is completed – Mashal is to be considered 14 years of age and placed with a foster family in Wales where he has support.

“Thank you to everyone who sent letters, faxes and emails to the Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP, Evan Harris MP and their local MPs. The response has been overwhelming and invaluable and messages of support will be given to Mashal and advice and assistance passed on to those currently supporting him in Wales.”

– Esme Madill, Friends of Mashal Jabari

The campaign quickly spread and gathered support from Helen Mary Jones AM. As well as raises issues about the way vulnerable children are treated this incident once again exposes the culture of disbelief that exists within the UK Border Agency especially the Cardiff office.

In the spirit of the disbelief that exists around the whole issue of asylum, for some reason the South Wales Echo decided to put the term teenager in inverted commas in their headline. Nevermind the fact that the judge ruled that Mashal

“is to be considered 14 years of age”

the staff at the UK Border Agency in Cardiff, consider him to be 18. It appears that the South Wales Echo is going one further than that and suspects he could be in his twenties!