Caabu raises visa denial for Yemeni journalist Ahmed Baider with Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Posted by on 18 Jul 2018

Caabu's parliamentary Chair Rt Hon David Jones MP (Conservative) and board members Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP (Liberal Democrat) and Paula Sherriff MP (Labour) have written to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid about Yemeni journalist Ahmed Baider being denied a visa to the UK to receive vital hostile environment training through the support of the Rory Peck Trust. They call on the Home Secretary to reconsider Ahmed Baider's case and grant him a visa. More on Ahmed Baider's case can be found here.

Dear Home Secretary,

We write as parliamentary Board members of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu).

We are very concerned to hear that Ahmed Baider, a Yemeni national who has worked as a freelance journalist and fixer for various UK media organisations, has been denied a visa to come to the UK.

Ahmed was given a bursary by the Rory Peck Trust (a London based NGO that supports freelance journalists) to receive vital hostile environment training here in the UK. Ahmed is a recognised and reputable journalist working within the UK media as a freelance and needs this training for his own safety and the safety of crews he is working with. This ruling is unfair,  reflects poorly on our country, and should be reviewed.

Given that Ahmed made his visa application with covering letters from Sky News, ITV News and ABC News, who all confirmed his efforts working with them on journalistic assignments in Yemen, it is extraordinary that his visa refusal letter contained this sentence:

“You state that you are self employed as journalist’s fixer and local producer, however you have submitted no evidence to demonstrate this.”

Ahmed also gave evidence of future work assignments with international media outlets in August, thereby demonstrating his intention to leave the UK upon completion of his hostile environment training, which was disputed by UK Visas and Immigration:

“I am therefore not satisfied that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit and that you are genuinely seeking entry as a visitor.”

It is through the work of  people like Ahmed Baider that the British public and British politicians are made aware of what is happening in Yemen. It is people like Ahmed Baider who offer protection, support and absolutely crucial local knowledge to British journalists reporting from a war zone. They act as a bridge between Yemen and the UK. As you are well aware, the situation in Yemen is horrific, and it is therefore even more important that we understand what is happening there through the work of  journalists such as Ahmed.

We therefore urge you to reconsider Ahmed’s case and grant him a visa, and also reassess the wider approach that the Home Office exhibits when dealing with applications such as his.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon David Jones MP (Chair of Caabu)

Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP (Caabu board member)

Paula Sherriff MP (Caabu board member)