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Petition Tag - bale
Isimeli Baleiwai known as 'Bale' to his friends is facing deportation from the UK after serving 13 years with the British Armed Forces. Bale is a foreign and commonwealth soldier from Fiji who was recruited by the MOD when he was 18.
He has served in 5 operational tours including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. His wife Kim is British and they have two young children a boy of 3 and a girl of 6; both British. Bale voluntarily discharged from the Armed Forces on June 15th 2012 in order to provide stability for his family.
He applied for British Citizenship in March while still a serving soldier. This was advised to him by MOD personnel because he had served 13 years and had a British wife and children. This was refused on 28/06/2012 by UKBA, Bale sent an 'appeal for review' but recieved a letter from UKBA on 14/07/2012 stating he had until 9th August 2012 to leave the country.
Under changes made to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1973 (ROA) in 2010 disciplinary offences dealt with at the Commanding Officer's discretion can now be equated to a criminal conviction.
Bale was fined in 2011 by his Commanding Officer for fighting with another soldier who instigated the fight. There was no police involvement, no trial, no defence and nor was it impartial. Bale did not know he was being charged with a criminal conviction. He believed this was an 'in-house' disciplinary offence only. He has no criminal record, this offence is only on his military record. There was no court martial. He has now appealed the conviction.
Under the changes made to ROA in 2010 Bale is now defined as a criminal by the Home Office and of not good character to become a British citizen or apply for indefinite leave to remain.
This is devastating for him and his family. It is a breach of Article 6 of the Human Rights Act (1998) and Armed Forces Covenant (2011). It is also inherently racist because the changes made will have no impact on his British Armed Forces colleagues because these military offences are not held on a criminal record. This change only has implications to immigration Law and Policy. The family believe the law and policy is discriminative.
Please show your support for Bale and his family, their lives are in turmoil. Bale has been told he has until the 9th August 2012 to leave the Country.
The Home Office has been using this 'Law' to deport Foreign and Commonwealth soldiers who have been medically discharged as well. This is a disgrace and immoral!
Last 10 minutes of show
For further links go to facebook page Bale Baleiwai http://www.facebook.com/bale.baleiwai?ref=tn_tnmn#!/bale.baleiwai?sk=wall
Twitter campaign @letbaleiwaistay
The family are humbled by offers of donations, however Veterans Aid are advocating for our family and others like us. If you would like to donate please donate to them at http://www.veterans-aid.net/
On 26th July Bale won the right to appeal his military offence 'out of time' because it was not in accordance with Article 6. UKBA still do not accept that this means it can not equate to a criminal offence. They granted Bale discretional leave to remain on 30th July. They have stated they will not make a decision on his deportation until the miltary offence is heard in a court of law. This is not a retrial as there was not one in the first place, this is being treated as a new case. Bale currently can stay but with no rights (work, doctor, benefits) he has a job offer but is unable to take it. Veteran's Aid and his wife will now be supporting the family. Bale feels his service has been dishonoured and UKBA are trying to make his family destitute.
Update: On 20/11/2012 Bale was found NOT GUILTY of his summary offence at Colchester Military Court.
On 05/12/12 Bale was informd that the Home Office would be granting him citizenship. The Baleiwai family are overjoyed that this nightmare has finally come to an end. They also hope that this injustice is not repeated again and the new changes in Law prevent innocent soldiers from being deported or denied their rights.
The Baleiwai family would like to say a great Big Thank-you to everyone who has signed the petition and supported them and in by doing so have helped a lot of others who are facing the same injustice. The support has been overwhelming and kept the family going. Despite the challenges of the last 6 months the family feel blessed to have met so many great people on the way and be part of something that has resulted in a change for the better.