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Soldier in limbo after 13 years of service
A SOLDIER who served 13 years in the British Army is at risk of deportation and separation from his wife and two children.
Isimeli Baleiwai, originally from Fiji, was in the Household Cavalry, at Combermere Barracks, in St Leonard's Road, for four years before he left the Army in June.
He was denied British Citizenship by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) because of an Army conviction recorded by his Commanding Officer in April last year. It was not recorded by police and he has no criminal record.
Mr Baleiwai, 32, lived with his wife Kimberley and children, aged three and six, in Cavalry Crescent and Hemwood Road, Windsor.
Speaking to The Observer, the couple described their "anger, pain and shame" at the Government which has left them in limbo. UKBA granted Mr Baleiwai six months discretionary leave on Wednesday to appeal against the conviction in court, during which he is not allowed to work - despite re-training as a fibre-optics technician and receiving a job offer - cannot claim benefits and cannot register with his GP because he has no National Insurance number.
Mr Baleiwai, who served on tours in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq twice, said: "I have been paying taxes and serving this country for 13 years.
"When we were first told I had to leave, we thought if they don't want us, we will go. But that isn't the Britain I want my children to remember. I believe I am good enough to be part of this country I risked my life to protect."
The family, supported by Veteran's Aid charity, is now in hiding after receiving vile and threatening messages.
Mrs Baleiwai, 31, is British and their children were born here. She said: "We are distressed and completely ashamed to be British. The Home Office has labelled him a criminal."
Pat Rule, 71, was a neighbour of the Baleiwai's in Hemwood Road and has written to Windsor MP Adam Afriyie in support of their cause. Mrs Rule said: "You could not meet a more delightful family. It is disgusting."
Mr Afriyie's office confirmed they had received letters from residents championing Mr Baleiwai's fight, but refused to comment on the case.
A spokesman for UKBA said they would make a decision on what action will be taken against Mr Baleiwai once his appeal has been resolved.
The petition, which has reached 25,000 signatures, can be signed here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-bale-being-deported-after-13-years-serving-british.html
This article appeared in Local Berkshire 02 Aug 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Aug 3, 09:56
Well done the Observer this case is a DISGRACE and Tone Bale should be allowed to stay in the Country he has been prepared to die for! The MP who refuses to comment should remember that the " we owe a debt of gratitude we can never repay" Parliamentary comments every time PMQ's are on and we have more dead service personnel are supposed to be true reflection of feelings and not LIP SERVICE by self serving Politicians who for the most part have never heard a shot in anger
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Aug 3, 10:25
I second the above comments left by 'rememan'. Tone Bale has more right to be a UK Citizen than tens of thousands of people actually born in the UK as far as I and many thousands of others are concerned.
Tone Bale has served this country loyally and without question for thirteen years. In that time Bale has been prepared to put his life on the line without thinking and without question numerous times. Surely the least he (and his wife & family) can expect is the right to a life here in the UK where he can continue to contribute greatly to our nation?
I am at a loss as to the reason Bale's local 'MP' has so far dodged the bullet with respects representing Bale's plight. Surely this Member of Parliament can see the total injustice being dished out in this instance and will be more than happy to represent one of his constituent’s to the best of his ability?
As for the 'conviction' preventing Bale from remaining in the UK, surely a 'handbags at dawn' type offence is not worthy of the title of 'conviction'? It was a simple case of a quick punch and then we're all mates again. How many of us have done this during our lives?
If the Government truly wish to honour the service of our Armed Forces, they need to do away with the stupidity and red tape that is quickly getting out of control and preventing brave men like Tone Bale from settling in a country that he has fought to defend? It's easy to pose for a few photos with members of the Armed Forces and say a few 'well chosen' words about them, but actually having the guts to stand up and defend one of them when they most need it is surely what our 'Politicians' are there for?
I for one am utterly disgusted with the disgraceful way that Tone Bale and his family have been treated. I'm ashamed to wear the medals that I have earnt during my time in the British Armed Forces and most of all I'm ashamed that our 'beloved Political Leaders' think so much of us that they would throw one of us out on our ear for such a small thing!
Thank you to the Observer for highlighting Tone Bale's plight. It's time this injustice was quickly righted and the Bale family allowed to get on with their lives.
I'm ex-Forces and I'm REME, but the likes of Tone Bale is part of my Forces Family and I and others in that family will continue to fight for all the Tone Bales out there!
Regards all and please help Tone Bale in his fight for justice.
Recommend? Yes 8 No 0
Aug 3, 10:52
Well said Tom, as we both know it is easy to be an armchair warrior, just as it is easy to be an armchair athlete during these Olympic Games. The hard work, dedication, training plus the blood sweat and often tears given during 13 years military service is hard to comprehend for those who have never done it. For everyone who used the British Legion, for all who applaud the homecoming parades, for those who watch the news and see the repatriations ans shed a tear, sign this petition. To ALL MPs of whatever Party now is the time to match your fine words with action, if you truly believe that you owe a "debt of gratitude" to our Armed Forces DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS NOW !!!
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Aug 3, 16:49
Why on earth has Afriyie declined to comment on this case?
This is very easy. This guy has served this country and now needs to be thanked by being given British Citizenship and leave to remain.
Does our MP not have a clear view on this?
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Aug 3, 19:50
Typical UK madness. He has served with the forces to protect our country and is treated like this. I remember a story last year of an illegal immigrant that committed Crimes in the UK. Whilst waiting for his trial and subsequent deportation he found a wife, had a child then claimed he could not be deported due to his civil rights and he would be separated from his wife and child. And this was supposedly ok and he was allowed to stay in the uk. Both these guys have got wife and children but the one they are trying to deport is the one that gave 13 years of his life to protect us! Maybe if he started committing crimes he would be allowed to stay. Fortunetly 25000 UK people want him here, but a couple of beurocrats who have the decision say no? Madnes madness madness.
Recommend? Yes 3 No 0