Tributes to Kamil Ahmed, killed in Knowle while seeking asylum

Published on: 27 Oct 2017

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Mural showing plight of disabled asylum seekers

‘You should have been better protected. You were a valued and loved member of our community’

Pictured: Kamil speaking at an event to improve conditions for disabled asylum seekers, and the mural to which he contributed, which shows Kamil holding his head in his hands. 

IN THE light of the court case, the tributes left to Kamil Ahmed outside his home in Wells Road shortly after his death in July 2016 are even more poignant.

“So sorry and outraged to hear this,” read one message. “You should have been better protected. You were a valued and loved member of our community.”

Kamil lived in the home, run by the Milestones Trust, while he applied for asylum in the UK.

The gateway to the house was festooned with flowers and messages from friends and family.

Last year his brother Kamaran Ahmed, 40, said: “He was a lovely man and everyone liked him.

“All we want is for that thing never to happen to anyone else.”

Kamil had been living in Bristol for five years though, like many of his family, he had fled Iraq many years before. The family are Kurds from Kirkuk, a community savagely persecuted by Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussain. Kamiil was imprisoned for two years and when he reached the UK was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

At a eulogy for Kamil held last year his friends Adil Jaifar and Rebecca Yeo told of his enthusiastic work as an interpreter for Bristol Refugee Rights.

Adil and Rebecca told the gathering held to remember Kamil that he had made many friends in Bristol, where he spent every spare minute learning English.

They said: “Kamil had a strong sense of justice, objected to any wrongdoings, and highly valued every individual’s need for respect and dignity. He was known for his soft speaking manner and his witty sense of humour.” 

Theeir eulogy to Kamil said: "In 2013 Kamil was actively involved in creating a mural showing the key messages of disabled asylum seekers living in Bristol. He described his sense that the sun shines for some people but not for others, and spoke of his sense that he was being murdered by the Home Office. He posed for the mural, holding his head between his hands, conveying the desperation, common to many asylum seekers in the UK."

At an event to improve conditions for disabled asylum seekers, Kamil had said: “In Iraq, people smashed my head by stones, they laughed at me. In this country they don’t hit you, but they do mentally… is it the human right if somebody is a disabled person to be treated in this way?”

“This quote is now deeply ironic,” said Adil and Rebecca. ” The news and circumstances of his killing shocked everyone who knew him.  The world has lost a gentle, kind-hearted and modest man. He will not, and must not, be forgotten.”

“We left [Iraq] because of the violence but at different times,” brother Kamaran told the Voice last year. Around 12 brothers and cousins live elsewhere in the UK, including Derby, and another cousin is in Sweden. All are stunned by what happened to Kamil.

Adil Jaifar, from Fishponds, said: “His needs were really simple. He didn’t need more than a little place to live in peace.

“He really cherished his freedom. He grew up as a Kurd under Saddam and as a teenager he was arrested and tortured, but he never mentioned it because it was too painful for him. I only discovered this from his family,” said Adil.

“In Bristol he felt safe. I visited him several times here – his room was really clean and tidy.

“This shouldn’t have happened. He’s not with us now and we miss him. We all hope that the authorities draw a lesson and protect vulnerable people like Kamil and others.”

After the killing, the gateway to the Milestones house at 346 Wells Road was festooned with flowers and messages from Kamil’s friends and family.

One message said: “He was really a good guy, very gentle. His sudden death is so sad and very painful.”

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