A UK resident of 15 years flew to his mother’s funeral in Zimbabwe, and was detained at the airport — and then jailed, facing deportation — upon his return because he didn’t look like his passport photo.
He had apparently gained about 125 pounds since the photo was taken.
His passport had fingerprints which would have matched his own, but those fingerprints weren’t separately on file anywhere that would have allowed a positive match. He had his previous passport as well, but that photo didn’t match either, so wasn’t a help.
As a result he was held at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow Airport pending deportation proceedings.
With some media and political intervention, the case was dropped and he was released.
After being ferried to and from the centre in a prison van while being detained, Maplanka was allowed to walk out of the gates – asking the officers where the nearest bus stop was.
He made his way to London Victoria and caught the train back home to Eastbourne to be with his wife and children again after nine days.
Maplanka said: “I was absolutely elated when I got home. Seeing my kids again, I woke up my daughter and gave her a kiss.
(HT: Road Warrior Voices)