Community “distraught” as young cricketer is deported

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A “polite, dedicated and loyal” young man who played a huge role in the local community has been deported, despite a 3,400-strong petition to keep him in the UK.

Bokthiar Rahman, known to many as Bok, came to the UK around eight years ago when he was 12, but was arrested and taken to a detention centre in Kent back in June - just six weeks before completing his A Level exams.

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In the early hours of Wednesday morning (August 5), Bok was put on a plane and deported back to Bangladesh with little notice and just the clothes he was wearing. He was allowed to send a few text messages from the runway to tell people he was leaving.

Bok lived with his foster parents in Seaford but was well-known in Hailsham for the contributions he made to the local cricket club.

Rob Wilkinson, director of cricket at Hailsham Cricket Club, said: “I just got a text message from one of the people at the club telling me that Bok was on the runaway about to be deported. He had only found out that evening. We’re all absolutely distraught.

“We have spoken to him since. He’s now in Dakha, where he’s going to stay for a few days to gather his thoughts. After that, he’s going to try and find the few relatives he has in the country, but he doesn’t know where they are or have any contact details for them. While he can understand the language a bit, he can’t speak it any more. He has lived in this country for eight years now and has adapted to this culture and way of life.”

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Bok was an integral part of the Hailsham cricket community, captaining the U14s and U16s and last year, becoming the captain of the adult Sunday team. Since 2012, Bok was an assistant coach for the juniors, giving his time freely to coach young players, as well as playing cricket for the club.

He was described as “a confident, polite, dedicated and loyal young man” who was “part of the cricket family”.

Mr Wilkinson added: “Bok’s the type of person who you could tell the worst news in the world to, and he would put on a brave face, but behind closed doors, he’ll be devastated. He’s just had his whole world taken away from him.

“The really sad thing is, he just six weeks away from completing his A Levels when he was taken to the deportation centre. He was really excited about getting his qualifications and going to university.

“We’re seeking legal advice about what next steps we can take, but we will not stop fighting to bring Bok back home.

“The local community, even people who did not know him, have supported our cause and raised thousands of pounds to help. As a club, we’re now sending that money to Bok to help him as much as we can while he’s there.”

Bok applied for a UK passport but it was refused, and despite a 3,410-signature petition and people offering to fully provide for him, he was still deported to his country of birth. To support Bok’s cause, contact Rob Wilkinson on 07980146841 or wilko27@hotmail.co.uk.

For more information, visit the original story here.

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