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Teenage asylum seeker 'unrecognisable' after attack

The brother of a teenage asylum seeker left fighting for his life when he was allegedly attacked by a group of up to 30 people said his sibling is unrecognisable following the beating.

Kurdish Iranian student Reker Ahmed, 17, was waiting at a bus stop in Croydon, south London, with two friends when they were assaulted at around 11.40pm on Friday.

The Metropolitan Police believes more than 30 people may have been involved in the hate crime, which members of the Kurdish community says has left them worried and shocked.

Hadi Ahmed said he visited his brother, who is being treated at London's King's College Hospital on Tuesday, and only found out on Monday he was the victim of the assault after seeing his picture in the news.

"When I saw him the first time he was like 'are you my brother?' and I said 'what do you mean?... yeah I'm your brother what are you talking about?'," the 23-year-old said of the hospital visit.

"It was like that, just shocked. I was just hugging him saying 'you're my brother'.

"I didn't recognise him as well when the first time I see him... he didn't have any affection. He didn't want to hug me."

He added: "It was horrible. I started crying.

"It's really bad, I feel really gutted and disappointed about the situation that happened."

Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the Kurdish Cultural Centre based in south London, said he accompanied Mr Ahmed on the visit to see his brother.

He revealed the teenager had been "smashed very badly" in the face, adding that he was being supported by people either side so he could walk and that there were bandages on his arm and leg.

"He lost his memory because he didn't recognise his brother," Mr Abdullah said.

"His face was very badly smashed and all black eyes.

"If we saw him somewhere else... we couldn't recognise him."

Reker was set upon while at a bus stop on Shrublands Avenue with two others, in an incident which police have branded a "brutal attack".

Neighbours described how punches and kicks rained down on the teenager, who was left in intensive care with a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain following the assault.

So far officers have arrested 16 people in connection with the incident, on suspicion of offences including attempted murder and violent disorder.

A total of 13 people have been charged in connection with the suspected hate attack, including a 15-year-old boy.

Detectives are also trying to trace the driver and the occupants of a white hatchback with a black roof that stopped at the scene.

Kurdish-Iranian immigration, asylum and human rights lawyer, Kaweh Beheshtizadeh, who is based on London Road, Croydon, and came to the UK in 2004 as an asylum seeker said he is "absolutely shocked" by the attack.

"I am worried, I work here. I come here every day, I see many Kurdish clients, many Kurdish British citizens working in this street and it is really worrying," he said.

"If this child was attacked simply because he was an asylum seeker, then I can't see why I wouldn't be attacked... if he was attacked while he was going home without any provocation, I could be attacked any minute."

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