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Home Sittingbourne News Article
An Afghan teenager facing deportation has won an eleventh-hour reprieve.
Najibullah Hashimi was due to be put on a flight later today after losing several appeals to stay in the country.
He feared he would be killed if he returned to the homeland he fled in 2006.
Now his adopted family say they have been told his flight has been cancelled and his case is being reviewed.
The UK Border Agency would not confirm details, but said Najibullah was still being detained.
The news comes after this website revealed on Friday how the 18-year-old believed the man who killed his father and brother would track him down.
The Sittingbourne Community College student (pictured above) had argued he had made a life for himself here. But the Home Office ordered his removal today.
However, they were hoping for a last-minute reprieve after more than 2,300 supporters signed a petition against his deportation.
The keen cricketer, his mother, sister and uncle fled the northern Afghan city of Baghlan and moved to Pakistan after the killings.
Three years later, news reached them the man responsible had tracked them down.
As a result, they decided the teenager would flee to England.
He arrived on February 27, 2009, aged 14, on the back of a lorry in Dover.
After a short stay in Ashford he was moved to a foster family in Sittingbourne before finally being taken in by carers Steve and Michelle Griffiths in Faversham.
He barely spoke a word of English, but is now fluent in the language.
The teenager, known as Najib, has been living independently since he turned 18 but has been held at the Dover Immigration Removal Centre since the week before last.
Speaking earlier today, Najib's foster father Steve Griffiths said there was confusion surrounding his release: "We're sat outside the detention centre and the reception that discharged the deportees has now told Naji he won't be released until this afternoon and I've spoken to a manager at the gates to find out what's going on."
Jackie Noble, assistant head teacher and head of post 16 at Najib's school, said: "He is an extremely well presented and polite young man, and very popular with staff and his peers.
"Najib is an outstanding example of a refugee that has come into our country and taken all the opportunities offered to him and then given much more back to others and the local community."
A UKBA spokesman said: "The UK only returns individuals if both the UKBA and the courts are satisfied they do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the country.
"We encourage these people to leave voluntarily and offer assistance to those who choose to do so."
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