Bristol: priest risks jail to protect refugee

 A priest who said he was prepared to go to prison to stop an asylum seeker being returned to Rwanda, has managed to get the case reviewed after he prevented her detention by police. Fr Richard McKay, parish priest at St Nicholas of Tolentino Church in Bristol, refused to allow police and immigration officials to enter his church when they came to detain Josette Ishimwe last week. Ms Ishimwe, 23, saw her parents hacked to death in Rwanda and is seeking refuge in his church to avoid being sent back to the country. She came to the UK after escaping the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and settled in Bristol. Fr McKay said: "I have been informed by my solicitor that Josette's case will now come up for judicial review. Obviously she's relieved about this as the threat of deportation has been temporarily taken away and at last there seems to be some progress." A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said two officers went to the church last week in support of immigration officers, but that a decision had been taken not to arrest her at that time. Fr McKay would not allow police and immigration officials to enter the church when they came to to detain her on Thursday. He said at the time: "I realise that by stopping them entering I am breaking the law but I also have a duty to protect parishioners." A Home Office spokesman said: "We are not able to discuss individual cases but if she has failed her appeal she will be expected to leave the country." Source: Ekklesia/CR

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