A STIRLING University student has said he is “sick” and hungry in a Home Office detention centre in Scotland as pressure builds on the UK Government to reveal why he has been detained for more than two months.

Speaking directly with the press for the first time, Muhammad Rauf Waris told The National he believed immigration officers had detained him without good reason and that he was suffering mentally and physically within the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre in South Lanarkshire.

Waris, 26, said he had left his mother and six sisters in his native Pakistan to study business management in Stirling so he could expand his family dairy farm in the country, and believed the Scottish university was one of the best places he could further his education.

Speaking over the phone from the detention centre near Strathaven, Waris said he had been refused proper medical attention by staff at the facility and wanted to return to his studies.

He said he had been commuting between Stirling and Rutherglen, where he was staying while in Scotland, and that he had been working at a grocery shop in Glasgow, where the Home Office alleged he was working over the legally-permitted number of hours.

Waris was arrested by officers at his place of work on June 15 and has been in Home Office custody since then. 

Foreigners studying in the UK can work up to 20 hours on a student visa, a limit Home Office sources said they have credible evidence to prove Waris has breached, though they have refused to share this with The National.

"Mental torture"

Asked if he had hopes of being released soon, Waris replied: “To be honest, I don’t know because I am in a mental torture, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

He added: “I am already suffering the sickness, when I try to eat […] have just a little bit bite to eat. I even request a doctor so to refer me to a hospital, but she said according to our examination you don’t need it. I don’t know why she said it.

“I am on a medication more than two months – anxiety, stress, sleeping, painkillers morning and in the nighttime.”

READ MORE: 'My family is suffering': Home Office detain Stirling student 'despite valid visa'

He said once he is released he hoped to complete his studies and move on to a PhD, adding it was unlikely he would stay in the UK for this.

The National:

Waris (above) added: “I am still suffering, my mother and my sisters are suffering and pray for me, I out as soon as possible. Right now is a very stressful moment of my life and my family. 

“I am a student, I need to make my degree, my degree is my priority and my goal and my ambition.”

READ MORE: SNP MP writes to Home Office over detained Stirling postgraduate student

"A last resort"

Denize Okan, a senior solicitor McGlashan MacKay, said Waris’s lawyers at the Glasgow firm had been ignored when they presented the Home Office with evidence he had not worked over the legally-permitted time.

She said: “Detention should be used as a last resort and only where removal is imminent. Despite this, Mr Waris has been detained for over six weeks with no removal directions having been set.

“The representations that we have made along with evidence to substantiate our client’s claim that he was not working in breach of his student visa have gone unanswered, without the courtesy of a reply for the entirety of his time in detention. This is of real concern.

“We are preparing grounds for challenge by way of judicial review and have a bail hearing listed for this coming Tuesday.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Illegal working causes untold harm to our communities, cheating honest workers out of employment, putting vulnerable people at risk, and defrauding the public purse.

“The Government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes by removing those with no right to be in the UK.”