Thank You For Donations & Please Support the #SaveKelechi Campaign

The Justice4Sanaz campaign would like to send a special thank you to all those for the past couple of months who have been financially supporting the campaign to keep afloat. Specifically, we would like to thank Ali Fathi, David Neale, Salomeja Marcauskaite, Adie Mormech, Yasmin Mahmoudi, Amrit Wilson, and Jasdeep Kandola. The donations that you have sent have been helpful in providing for Sanaz’s daily needs (food, transport, etc.).

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We still need more funding to get a solicitor to help with Sanaz’s immigration and impending breach of contracts case that she wants to take forth against the University of Leeds. As many of you know, because of cuts to legal aid in the UK, that means people in Sanaz’s precarious situation are unable to get legal representation because they simply cannot afford it. The Justice4Sanaz campaign is looking for means to be able to either find a solicitor and/or a barrister to work pro bono (for free) on these cases for Sanaz or to raise money to pay for legal representation that she urgently needs at this very time.

The Justice4Sanaz campaign has reached out many times to the 8 student unions that have passed motions of support and solidarity to the campaign (King’s College London SU, Royal Holloway SU, University of Bradford SU, University of Bristol SU, University of Birmingham SU, University of the Arts London SU, SOAS SU, and Kingston University SU) and so far, only SOAS SU has been in contact with the campaign. We have not had any definitive response from the 7 other SUs if they will all join forces to carry out fundraiser for this campaign. The lack of a clear response is not only worrying, but deeply insulting. Motions that have been passed in any SU must be activated and adhered to, not simply gather dust in a drawer or file cabinet!

The Justice4Sanaz campaign has pointed to other cases similar to Sanaz’s that shows that the violence she experienced at the University of Leeds is not an isolated matter. In order to support non-EU international students, refugees and asylum seekers, what is needed is legal support. As Sanaz herself stated recently on Facebook:

“The NUS International Students Campaign is demanding that international students walk out of their classes on the 17th November in solidarity with refugees, asylum seekers, and against the draconian and deeply xenophobic immigration laws in this country. While a ‘walk out’ is all very well and good, what is really needed is education of what rights international (EU) and non-EU international students have in the UK to challenge neoliberal violence, immigration and exploitation within their institution. International students, otherwise EU students are in a much better position to challenge institutional failings because they don’t need to worry about immigration matters, but if you are a non-EU international student, on a one year postgrad degree, more often than not, you are unaware of your legal rights.

While everyone is talking about PREVENT and the CTSB, especially in light of what happened to Staffordshire University postgrad student, Mohammed Umar Farooq, we are missing a crucial and overlooked point. PREVENT affects non-EU international students as well as British and EU students. Non-EU internationals have very little recourse to challenge the ‘terrorist’ label via PREVENT workings. If Farooq was a non-EU international student, he would not have his day in a British court to clear his name but rather extradited back this his home country to face either a prison sentence and/or life-long torture. The fact that most discussions around PREVENT and the ‪#‎StudentsNotSuspects‬ campaign haven’t made this important link is all very telling.

Shouldn’t student unions and the NUS International Students Campaign instead be settling up workshops for international students to ‘know their rights’ along with putting together a list of solicitors and/or barristers willing to offer pro bono legal service should any EU and non-EU international student need urgent legal help? Surely this act would be much beneficial for non-EU international students in the long run versus a walk out. I never heard of a NUS walk out accomplishing much other than becoming a photo moment for a few people tied to the campaign. We should do better than this. There is too much at stake that deserves more than meaningless activism.”

Speaking of legal representation, Justice4Sanaz reported in August that our friend, Kelechi Chioba is in urgent need of help and support at this very time.

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Kelechi is a Nigerian disabled woman. She came to the UK to do her postgrad studies as a measure to avoid horrific sexual and physical violence she endured in Nigeria as a disabled woman. Kelechi has filed for asylum in the UK as her life in Nigeria is unsafe as a disabled woman. The Save Kelechi Campaign has set up a fundraiser on YouCaring that is raising money for Kelechi so that she can pay for a solicitor to represent her with concerning her asylum claim. The Justice4Sanaz campaign has donated money to the Save Kelechi Campaign fund and we hope everyone who reads this message will do the same. Also, please remember to sign the petition in support of Kelechi on Change.org!

As ever, please donate any spare coins to the Justice4Sanaz campaign and again, thank you so much for your continued solidarity and support!

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About justice4sanaz

For 3 years, Sanaz Raji, a non-EU international student from the United States, has waged a fearless and brave fight against institutional aggression, bullying, and racism from the School of Media and Communication (formerly the Institution of Communications Studies) University of Leeds. The School of Media and Communication took away Sanaz's scholarship in August 2011, only 2 weeks before the start of her third year into her PhD studies. The School of Media and Communication breached their own procedures and rules concerning evaluating student progress. By taking away Sanaz's scholarship, the School of Media and Communication prevented her from continuing her studies in addition to having a decent standard of living with food and shelter that all students expect as a human right. In waging her battle for equal rights for non-EU international students, Sanaz was evicted from her university accommodation in May 2014, threatened with an ASBO (anti-social behavior order) and now fighting against deportation. All non-EU international students should have the right to challenge their universities for their failings without the threat of harassment or deportation. Justice4Sanaz is a movement to redress the failure of the student movement to discuss the myriad of ways that non-EU students, especially those who are people of color, are silenced, bullied and threatened within the neoliberal British university system.
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