IN HONOUR OF YAHYA ASSIRIIn these early days of 2017, Cromwell Wilkes celebrates Mr Yahya Assiri, our longest standing asylum-seeking client.

Yahya is a Saudi national who has long campaigned for democracy and human rights, both in his home country and beyond. His former partner in such campaigning remains in a Saudi jail with little hope of release despite his imprisonment attracting international concern.

In February 2014, Yahya and his family lost everything when forced to seek international protection in the United Kingdom. The decision being unavoidable once the Saudi authorities became aware of his role in advocating political reform and promotion of human rights, including rights for women.

He has borne his hardship with great dignity and patience, always concerned more for the plight of others than for himself. He has used his time in the United Kingdom to offer his services to Amnesty International, and remains an active and passionate champion of human rights, access to and equality before the law, and the rights of all citizens across the world to choose, criticise or hail their governments. He opposes all forms of discrimination and applies his principled judgement to all who hold or seek power, without favour or exception, unbound by personal prejudice or misplaced ideological loyalties. He advocates the virtue of ahimsa in rejecting violence as a legitimate harbinger of change.

Yahya Assiri wants for himself only that which he has long advocated for others: security, dignity, and freedom under the rule of law. A confirmed Anglophile (with touching civic pride in his adopted Birmingham), who is a committed internationalist and democrat, he displays an instinctive kindness to all those he encounters. Having an acute interest in the lives and ideas of others, he is ready to adapt his views in the face of reasoned debate or evidence; and quick to offer practical and ideological support to many causes beyond his own.

It is an honour to know and represent Yahya Assiri, a professional client who has become a friend. A humanitarian of courage and essential goodness. And a man who has waited almost three years to be confirmed as the refugee he surely is. The waiting goes on….and Yahya has our enduring support and best wishes in days yet to unfold.

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