Kurd seeking UK asylum says his life is at risk from 'feud with powerful political family'

The 21-year-old believes he faces 'serious harm' if he returns to Iraq

A man in front of a Kurdish flag during a protest outside the US Consulate in Erbil, Iraq, in 2017. Getty Images
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An Iraqi Kurd is fighting to stay in the UK after claiming that his life is at risk from a blood feud with a powerful political family.

The 21-year-old, who can not be named for legal reasons, applied for asylum in the UK after being smuggled into the country from Iraq.

According to a judge’s ruling he says that his life “is at risk of persecution as he is the target of a family blood feud and faces a serious possibility of serious harm on return as a result”.

The man claims “the feud arose as a retribution for actions taken by his father, who died following a confrontation with some members of a powerful local political family”.

The Iraqi state’s “endemic corruption” has resulted in local police coming under the influence of “the other more powerful family”, which means he is unable to relocate because of their influence in the Independent Kurdish Region, the document said.

The asylum seeker “faces a serious possibility of serious harm on return as a result” of the feud with the Lala Sarhad family.

But lawyers for Home Secretary Suella Braverman argue that the behaviour of the other family is inconsistent with that which might be “expected in a genuine blood feud”.

That was on account of “there being no evidence of threats aside from one drive-by shooting by unidentified attackers”.

They also argued there was “insufficient evidence to substantiate any risk to him from the Lala Sarhad family or evidence that the Sarhad sons had influence outside the locality” where the man lived.

There is nothing to confirm the status of the family and as such the asylum seeker could “safely relocate to Suleimaniyah” and his account had “inconsistencies” in it.

The Kurdish man’s initial asylum claim was rejected in 2021 and a first appeal was also dismissed.

Judge Jeremy Rintoul dismissed another appeal and said he was “not satisfied” that the asylum seeker would be at risk on return to Iraq.

It comes after an Iraqi who claims a government minister threatened to kill him after he took part in protests in Iraq has won the latest round of his legal battle to claim asylum in the UK.

The 55-year-old, who also can not be named for legal reasons, participated in the 2019 protests in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and arrived in Britain via Spain in December that year.

Updated: October 18, 2023, 2:19 PM