The so-called Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is currently ruled by the dictatorship of Joseph Kabila where arbitrary shootings, torture and arrests are widespread. As a member of the opposition party, Maurice Luzolo was imprisoned and tortured for demonstrating against the dictatorship, and while he was in jail, his wife was killed.
After his uncle bribed the prison guards to set him free, Maurice fled to the UK where he is seeking asylum. As is uncommonly usual in such cases, the Home Office didn't believe his story because the dates of the torture didn't tally...
"Every day they took someone and killed him" Maurice recalls "Every day they kicked us with heavy boots and beat us with rubber batons. They wouldn't stop. They'd say: 'This time we will kill you'. I was very injured in prison. I was in this prison for five months. I can't remember everything clearly. I think this is because of all the beatings and the injuries which made problems in my head..."
With evidence from the DRC and a specialist doctor in the UK confirming that torture took place, Maurice is currently fighting to overrule the Home Office judgement. In the meantime he has to report to Dallas Court in Salford and his friends and supporters were worried that yesterday he would be detained...
"Normally he reports every six months but they changed it to every two weeks and he was detained in May, even though it is unlawful for the Home Office to detain people who they have accepted are survivors of torture" RAPAR case worker, Phil explained
"They detained him as if he had done an illegal act but was then let out without even a bail hearing because I think they noticed at a later stage what they did" he added "He has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is a victim of torture. Today everything was fine and he has to come back in a month but we were making sure he was safe and showing solidarity."
In this country, Maurice is a member of APARECO (Alliance des patriotes pour la Refondation), an organisation which opposes Kabila's dictatorship and raises awareness in the UK about the killings and torture in DRC. To send him back to the Congo would be tantamount to threatening his life.
In the meantime, Maurice struggles on in the UK without a home, depending on friends who allow him to stay, and without a job, as the Home Office refuses to allow him to work.
"I am a volunteer at the Boaz Trust in Manchester" he says "By volunteering there, it makes me feel good to be around other people that I can help."
Read Maurice's full story on the RAPAR website – click here
See previous Salford Star article: Not The Fake News, for other asylum horror stories and real facts – click here
Photo shows Maurice with supporters outside Dallas Court