Court suspends deportation of man with rare Fabry disease

Youssef Mikhaiel

Graduate engineer Youssef Mikhaiel is being treated for Fabry disease

An Egyptian man with a rare genetic disease has won a last-ditch bid to prevent his deportation from the UK.

Youssef Mikhaiel, 28, was due to be deported on Monday – but it was postponed after his case went to Edinburgh Court of Session.

The graduate engineer has Fabry disease, which damages the heart, kidneys and nervous system, and cannot access treatment in his home country.

The Home Office said it still intended to deport him from the UK.

Mr Mikhaiel had been held at Dungavel House detention center in Lanarkshire for two weeks but was released on bail on Friday afternoon.

A petition for his release had collected 21,000 signatures in 48 hours.

Youssef Mikhaiel and Sarah Bradley

Youssef Mikhaiel met his partner Sarah after leaving Dungavel

Mr Mikhaiel told BBC Scotland he was still anxious as the threat of deportation was still on the table.

“I don’t want anything to affect my family or myself, because I always worry about my medication status, how it will affect my lifespan, my career and my future.

“Hopefully it will get better soon,” he said.

Fabry disease in an inherited disease in which enzymes cannot break down fats called lipids, allowing them to build up in the body.

The disorder causes symptoms such as chronic pain and high temperatures and can shorten a person’s lifespan.

Mr Mikhaiel claims that if returned to Egypt he would not be able to access a drug called migalastat, which is used in Scotland to treat Fabry disease.

In a letter seen by BBC Scotland, officials at Misr International Hospital in Egypt confirmed that the country’s pharmaceutical authority was not supplying the drug.

It said: “Without a doubt, the absence of his required treatment for his rare disease in Egypt would cause intense suffering or death.”

The letter added that the life expectancy of untreated men was just over 50 years.

Mr Mikhaiel said returning to Egypt would affect his health, both physical and mental.

“I didn’t ask for that,” he added.

“I came here legally to study on a student visa, until I was diagnosed by NHS Glasgow.

“It took them almost a year before they knew what I had.”

Mr Mikhaiel arrived on a student visa in 2016 and graduated as an aeronautical engineer from the University of Glasgow in 2019.

His visa expired the same year and he applied for a residence permit after being diagnosed with Fabry disease.

However, his request was rejected for failure to provide evidence in December 2021.

Within the last year he has presented himself to the immigration authorities in Glasgow.

His lawyer Usman Aslam obtained the letter from Misr Hospital on May 15. However, Mr. Mikhaiel was arrested by the interior authorities the following day.

On May 19, Mr. Aslam demanded his client’s release. He said he showed the Interior Ministry the letter from the hospital to demonstrate the seriousness of Mr Mikhaiel’s condition.

When the Home Office then ordered that he be deported from the UK, he applied for leave to remain on medical grounds.

These claims are based on Article 3 – protection against torture or inhuman treatment – and Article 8 – right to a family life – under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).



Mr Aslam said: “That should have stopped this withdrawal. End of story.

“Instead they kept saying they were going to fire him on Monday June 5th.

“It forced me to go to Scotland’s highest civil court.”

Mr Mikhaeil’s application for judicial review was accepted by the Sessions Court on Thursday. The court will now have to decide whether the Home Office was right to try to deport him from the UK while an application was pending.

He was released from Dungavel the next day and was met at the gates by his partner Sarah Bradley.

The Home Office said it does not comment on individual cases.

In a statement, he said: “Detention plays a key role in maintaining effective immigration controls and securing the UK’s borders, particularly in relation to the removal of people who have no have no right to stay in the UK but refuse to leave voluntarily.

“We take the well-being of those in our care very seriously and have put in place a series of safeguards, including 24-hour access to medical professionals for those in detention.”

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