'Roudi Chikhi had been secretly filming atrocities carried out by the Bashar al-Assad government and smuggling his footage out to al-Jazeera, YouTube and other media outlets. Then, when someone tipped off the Syrian government about his activities, he was forced to flee.
He arrived at Gatwick airport travelling on a false Canadian passport last December. The 28-year-old Kurd was then put in a police cell, taken before magistrates, convicted of travelling on false documents and given a one-year sentence. His savings of $3,500 (£2,619) were confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Campaigners claim his case is one of many where the British authorities have flouted the law that says refugees who escape from war-torn countries and travel to the UK using fake passports are innocent of crime.
Under the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, asylum seekers have a defence for using false documents if they have no other option. Two years ago, the government admitted that almost 500 asylum seekers had been convicted of false document offences between 2009 and 2011.
Chikhi said he was shocked to find himself in Lewes prison, East Sussex. "I was with all these criminals but didn't think of myself as a criminal. There was a lot of fighting and violence and I was very scared. In Syria I was in danger, but at least I had places to hide. In prison, there was nowhere to hide."
Two months into his sentence, the Home Office granted him refugee status for five years. Yet he was left in jail to serve the four months he was required to and his savings were not returned.'