"We Want Our Midfielder Back"
Friday January 11, 2008 09:20 by friends of alex
Football team Expresses Solidarity With Refugee Team Mate
Red Star Bedminster's football team who play at the five-a-side pitches tonight (Friday) at 7.00pm next to Windmill City Farm, will be under strength tonight since their most experienced player Alex Sidenko will be missing. He was snatched from his home in Bristol, where he has lived for the last seven years, by immigration officers on the 2nd of January this year. Since then he has been held in Tinsley House detention centre, awaiting deportation this Wednesday (16th January).
In 1999 following the death of one of his friends in Chechnya Alex became active in demonstrating against the war (In 1999 Russian government forces killed numerous civilians through the use of indiscriminate force in Chechnya, and security officials' beatings resulted in numerous deaths) as a result he was arrested on four occasions. He recently received a letter from his daughter, telling him that the military were still looking for him.
Unlike Al Bangura of Watford FC, his fellow footballing asylum seeker, Alex at the age of 58 is unlikely to grace the premier league. However, hundreds of hours of volunteer work at the Charity Refugee Action and his local church make him a very valuable a member of the community.
With Deportation looming close, his team mates urge the Home Office to stop his deportation:
Johnny Stephens of Red Star Bedminster said:
“Russia is not a safe place for Alex to be. He's a great bloke, not to mention a half decent
midfielder and the whole team are behind his fight to stay in this country. We just hope the Home Secretary will take another look at his case ”