Asylum seeker who had fled from Taliban died after becoming addicted to heroin
AN INTERPRETER who fled Afghanistan after escaping the clutches of the Taliban died after becoming addicted to heroin.
Asylum-seeker Shamen Zamir, moved to Stoke-on-Trent 12 years ago to begin a new life after he was kidnapped and tortured by members of the Islamic fundamentalist movement.
The 43-year-old, who lived in Wellington Street, Hanley, was only able to escape after his family agreed to pay a huge ransom.
The 43-year-old, who had worked for the Afghan government, was released when the cash was handed over. He later worked as a successful interpreter in North Staffordshire and was married here.
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But an inquest into his death yesterday heard how his life descended into depression following the death of his father.
And Mr Zamir eventually became addicted to heroin and died of liver failure after contracting hepatitis and HIV.
His brother Mohammed, also an interpreter in the city, told Stoke-on-Trent Coroner's Court: "My brother was educated in Kabul where he was born and was employed as a teacher before working as a government official in Afghanistan.
"In 1990 I believe he was tortured by the Taliban and injected with drugs. Our family paid a ransom to secure his release."
Mr Zamir began his language work at Stoke-on-Trent college, before a spell working as a packer at Morrisons.
He later became a full-time interpreter for an employment agency.
But by 2008 Mr Zamir was smoking a gram of heroin every day, the inquest heard.
Dr Jane Barber, from the Moorcroft medical centre, in Hanley, said: "He admitted his addiction to heroin and was smoking it every day.
"He did well when he was put on a methadone programme but he came off it during a trip to Afghanistan in 2010."
Mr Zamir began injecting the drug and contracted Hepatitis A and B, as well as the HIV virus.
His brother said: "Our father passed away, who Shamen was very close to and would confide in. He would spend a lot of hours in his bedroom crying and we couldn't get him to eat anything. My brother lost a lot of weight at this time and he was refusing to see a doctor."
In December 2011 he was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with a tumour of the stomach and told he had liver cancer.
He died on January 2 this year at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
Assistant deputy coroner Margaret Jones said: "It is clear that he had a very difficult time in Afghanistan but when he came to the UK he managed to find work.
"Unfortunately he did become involved with drugs and compounding that problem was the death of his father.
"Despite support from his brother and his doctors he did continue with his illicit drugs. It is very difficult to know how many drugs are being taken when you are not there everyday."
The Coroner recorded a narrative verdict after declaring he died as a result of a dependancy on drugs. The cause of death was given as renal failure caused by hepatitis.