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Thousands sign petition asking Justice Minister to stop deportation of student facing threat of torture

Shepherd Machaya could be deported within days after his permission to remain in Ireland expired on 21 October.

Shepherd Machaya
Shepherd Machaya
Image: DCU Students' Union

OVER 13,000 PEOPLE have signed an online petition calling for a halt to the deportation of a Dublin City University student facing the threat of torture if he returns home.

Zimbabwean national Shepherd Machaya could be deported within days after his permission to remain in Ireland expired on 21 October.

The former pastor fled his homeland after members of ZANU-PF, the party co-founded by Robert Mugabe, tortured and threatened to kill him in an attempt to force him to join the party.

After he left Zimbabwe, Machaya’s sister told him that one of his best friends died after suffering catastrophic injuries when he was tortured by the party’s members.

Machaya, a second year Management of Information Technology and Information Systems student at DCU, has been living in Direct Provision in Laois for the last nine years.

He completed a Level 5 course in Software Development in Portlaoise College in 2017, before being admitted to DCU under the University of Sanctuary scholarship scheme, which allows refugees to study there.

However, after his bid for asylum failed earlier this year, Machaya was told by the Department of Justice to leave Ireland by 21 October.

“From this moment onwards, he could be deported,” DCU Students’ Union President Vito Moloney Burke tells TheJournal.ie.

“I think we have a few days, but that’s about it.”

Campaigners say that although his family remains in Zimbabwe, Machaya has made friends in Ireland, which he calls his “second home”, and that he has contributed to the country.

Burke added that despite contacting Charlie Flanagan and the Department of Justice on multiple occasions, he has received no response.

“We’ve had growing support on a national level. The most heartening thing is that members of the public are getting involved and signing the petition.

“Hopefully more attention is brought to Shepherd’s case and this is discussed in the Dáil tomorrow.”

TheJournal.ie has asked the Department of Justice for comment.

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