A DEIGHTON man was tortured, beaten and held in captivity in Zimbabwe.
Sam Mabuya, 31, left the country in 2003 but is still fearful of the strict regime in the African country and says he could never go back while president Robert Mugabe is in power.
He has lived in Huddersfield since he came to the UK and is due to start at the university this year.
His asylum application was approved a month ago after being initially rejected.
It means that after almost five years, he can look for work and look forward to life.
Sam said: “My situation wasn’t good, it was because of Mugabe.
“The way he is holding on to power is wrong.
“He is brutal, it is frightening what he is doing.
“In the end I could not stay there, it got too bad.
“I was beaten up and I was kept in captivity. Eventually I travelled for three days to South Africa.
“When I arrived at Heathrow in 2003 it was 7am and I wasn’t allowed to leave until 10pm.
“I felt really unwelcome at first.
“To make it worse my initial application was refused after only four days and I was held in a refuge.
“My concern was that I wasn’t allowed to live freely.
“The most important thing for me now is to be free, I appreciate that very much.
“I am still living in fear of persecution. I know if I went back to Zimbabwe I wouldn’t be safe at all.
“I have family and friends there and I am very concerned about them.
“I don’t think I would survive if I am sent back, not while Mugabe is in power.”