'Hasan', who revealed in a press conference yesterday, the 29th of November, that his real name is Shay Babagar, joined a zoom with journalists to tell them first-hand about his family's experiences at a Serco-run contingency hotel in Stockport, Greater Manchester. Mr Babagar is seeking political asylum in the UK after fleeing Pakistan where he was involved in political activity.
During the hour-long conversation, held in the RAPAR offices as Mr Babagar and his wife and 'sofa-surfing' with friends of RAPAR, and with the help of an interpreter, Shay described the residents' treatment and conditions at the hotel and explained why he took the drastic action of going on hunger strike.
Following the press conference, Mr Babagar's story has featured on the front page of the Morning Star (30th Nov. edition) and on the BBC's North West evening news (29th Nov.).
The piece on the Morning Star - Refugee on 28th day of hunger strike accuses Serco of 'inhuman and degrading treatment' of asylum-seekers - begins:
A refugee on the 28th day of a hunger strike has demanded an end to the “inhuman and degrading treatment” of asylum-seekers in hotels run by disgraced security firm Serco. Backed by a campaigning refugee support group in Manchester, Shay Babagar told an online media conference today that residents suffered poor hygiene, infections, lack of basic toiletries, inadequate food and abuse by staff.
He said he went on hunger strike in desperation on November 2 after complaints were ignored — and will end it only if his demands for change are met. He said: “I am seeking to end, or at least reduce, the harm caused to my family by the inhuman and degrading treatment to which we and others have been subjected by Serco.”
He also said that after he was hospitalised due to the effects of the hunger strike both he and his wife, who suffers Type 1 diabetes, were arrested in their hospital beds by Greater Manchester Police.
He is currently “sofa surfing” in Manchester at the homes of volunteers from the group backing his demands for action, Rapar (Refugee and Asylum-Seeker Participatory Action Research). Mr Babagar is seeking political asylum after fleeing Pakistan where he was involved in political activity. Read the full piece on the Morning Star.
Mr Babagar's story also feature on BBC Northwest's evening news, and you can view the segment here. (We will add a link to the full piece on the BBC website when we have it.)