A southside mum is trapped in Cyprus with her two children because an abusive former partner is exploiting the law to his own ends.
Paula Clifford left Clarkston in 2004 to settle on the island with her then partner, but after they split she met Ali Reza Poor Akbar in 2009.
“I feel trapped and intimidated. I’m an EU citizen yet he has been allowed to make my life a misery. I’m in fear for my safety. Please someone, help me.”Paula Clifford
She claims he has terrorised and abused her for years, but in a twisted, bitter and vindictive attempt to retain control, he has had their child, Alexa, 5, placed on a stop list.
This means that Paula cannot take her out of the country for fear of being arrested herself.
As a result of this she is essentially trapped in Cyprus while the legal system grinds slowly on.
Akbar, believed to be an Iranian asylum seeker has already been deported from the island twice but managed to return, and despite his own illegal immigration record he has used the law to his own ends.
Paula said: “He was the worst mistake of my life. He was so jealous and controlling. I finally plucked up the courage to leave him in 2013, but I’m still a prisoner.”
Akbar is due to appear in court this week when he is set to face charges of domestic abuse against Paula, in addition to fire-raising at the Luke Kelly Irish Bar in Ayia Napa in 2011.
Kirsten Oswald MP is now assisting Paula and has been in correspondence with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on her behalf.
She commented: “No-one should live in fear for their safety or the safety of their children.
“I know this case has been very stressful and worrying for Paula and her family here in East Renfrewshire.
“I hope that matters are resolved positively soon and that Paula and her children can get on with their lives in peace”.
Paula’s mother Margaret said: “I am providing as much support to my daughter as I can in this horrendous situation. How can a country, which is part of the EU, act in this way, meaning a family cannot leave the country - and, more importantly, out of the reach of a seriously abusive relationship from an asylum seeker, who has been charged with various offences, some of which are extremely serious.
“It’s ludicrous and should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. It’s almost like there’s no rule of law which will offer protection to Paula and her children, but it will allow her former partner to force her to stay in a country she doesn’t want to be in, and where she runs the very real risk of injury, or worse, death!
Akbar is due to appear in court on March 28 in Famagusta.
The family have set up a petition which now has 2379 supporters, and can be viewed at: https://www.change.org/p/pls-help-free-and-protect-a-british-mother-children-who-are-in-serious-danger-in-cyprus-being-forced-to-stay-there