Please contact the Home Office and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre to demand Said’s release and also Ethiopian Airlines to complain about his treatment (see below):
Telephone: 020 7035 4848
Fax: 020 7035 4745
Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre
Telephone: 020 8607 5200
Fax: 020 8759 7996
Telephone: 020 8745 4234
Fax: 020 8745 7936
Said is from Koyama, an island which is part of Somalia. He fled Somalia because of attacks against his tribe. He is part of the Bajuni tribe. Bajuni is a minority group who have suffered systematic confiscation of their land and property, they have been forced off the Bajuni islands and have been excluded from political participation and denied their rights. As a victimised group many have fled over the years. Throughout the Bajuni islands young Bajuni men have been forced into slavery to work on farms. They have beaten the men, raped the women and their property has been looted. An attempt was made to force Said into slavery, his home and other homes on his street were set on fire so he fled.
He arrived in Britain in November 2008 and claimed asylum in Liverpool. He lived in a hostel and was given a date to sign at the immigration reporting centre. While there they took his fingerprints and found out that he had tried to claim asylum in Luxemburg in 2005. (He was refused asylum in Luxemburg and on his way back to Somalia he transited through Tanzania, he was sent to Kenya for one week and then back to Somalia).
Said was arrested and held in Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre, Oxfordshire (IRC) for several days then moved to Lindholme IRC in Doncaster for two days and was told he would be deported to Luxemburg as it was a country he has already tried to claim asylum in. UKBA also deport people back to countries they have travelled through on transit to Britain. They are currently tying to deport Said back to Tanzania (see below).
After two months of detention the Home Offcie said that they could not send him back to Luxemburg and so gave him an address at a hostel in Leeds to stay at. One week later he had an interview with UKBA about his claim for asylum and was given a flat in Lincoln Green, Leeds. He had to sign on at an immigration reporting centre in Waterside court each month but was not given travel money, so he would have to walk for one hour and 15 minutes there and back during the winter.
Said’s claim was refused a couple of months later. His solicitor advised him to appeal which he did, after two weeks his appeal was refused, and his solicitor ceased to represent him. His flat and all support were taken away from him and he was refused legal aid to find another solicitor to continue fighting his case. He had no food, no roof over his head, no access to healthcare, no money for travel – Said was made destitute.
His friends from his Mosque gave him shelter for one week. Said was now in a desperate situation, which many asylum seekers are forced into, he thought that at any time he was going to die. ‘Back in Somalia there are problems for me but there are also problems in Britain.’ So he signed a form of voluntary return to go back to Somalia.
The British government makes lives for millions of people around the world unbearable to the point where they have to flee their country, but when they come to Britain seeking sanctuary from these situations the British state continues to make life so hard to the point where people often have no choice but to return to their country, even if it means returning to a war zone, even if it means facing persecution, death, torture, beatings, rape or extreme levels of poverty.
After another two weeks of homelessness the Home Office finally gave him a house in Hull for three months until they could process his travel documents. After two months they said they could not deport him to Somalia because of the problems there and they again took all support away from him. He went to court and temporarily got support back but in December 2010 it was taken away again for the third time. Friends, St James Hospice, Refugee Action and a local Church helped him with food and support for three months.
Despite no long term, formal support he still had to sign at the immigration reporting centre every month. Then one day when he went to sign he was arrested and taken to Morton Hall IRC, Lincoln on 6th February 2012. ON 11th February he was taken to Colnbrook IRC and given a ticket for 13th February to be deported to Tanzania. Detainees in Morton Hall say that UKBA officials there have been issuing travel documents, allegedly from the Tanzanian High Commission in order to deport Somalis to Tanzania.
The documents appear to have simply been photocopied and the photographs of different detainees stuck on them. While there the doctor gave him a medical assessment and found out Said suffers from high blood pressure and a heart condition, so the doctor stopped the flight, saying he was unfit to fly. Colnbrook is a high security immigration prison, yet Said has never been in trouble or committed a crime.
The ‘windows’ in the cells are very thick and cannot be opened, and his door would be locked from 8.30pm until the next morning. Because of his health problems Said was unable to breath properly in the cell. They sent him to Haslar IRC, Hampshire but the doctor said he needs 24/7 medical care which they do not provide so he was sent back to Colnbrook.
On the 12th April Said saw an outside specialist who confirmed his condition. The doctor sent a letter to the Home Office saying that he desperately needs fresh air and should be released. This was refused, so the doctor said if there is no other option he should be sent back to Morton Hall which is a less secure facility so the windows can be opened. He was sent back to Morton Hall on 2nd May.
Said put in an application for bail. His girlfriend talked to his case worker at the Home Office who said she should write to the chief of the Home Office saying she was happy to support Said and give him a place to stay, which she did but they still refused to release him. Said has sent a letter to the Tanzanian embassy about the Home Office trying to deport him there and they said that the Home Office can not send him to Tanzania because they have no record of him, they do not know who he is.
The Home Office claimed that his case is now over and any appeals are out of time, however Said has not been able to properly fight his case because of the times support was taken from him and he was left destitute. He has put in an appeal which is pending at a tribunal for judicial review. The doctor at Morton Hall had wrote a letter saying that Said should not be removed from Morton Hall, which Said had signed, and the doctor was going to sign it on Monday 10th September but on Sunday 9th UKBA sent him back to Colnbrook and held him in ‘the block’, the segregation unit for four days where he was not allowed to go outside as punishment for ‘refusing to comply’ with UKBA.
Despite his appeal ongoing he was given removal directions for 17th September. He took a judicial review to the high court but despite the forged travel documents from UKBA, which the Judge did not address, he ruled that there was no barrier to removal. However, on the 17 th no one came to take Said.
Said was given a new ‘ticket’ for removal for the 30th September, his seventh ‘ticket’. Despite having no passport or travel documents the Home Office was still attempting to deport Said, this is illegal. The immigration guards came for Said at around 7.30pm on the 30th September; they handcuffed him and put him in leg chains. They put him in the van where five officers manhandled him, pressing down on his chest. His hands and arms have swollen up because the handcuffs were so tight and he was being pulled by them. They put him on an airplane as part of a commercial flight, on Ethiopian Airlines, flight number ET701, to deport him to Tanzania.
Said shouted that they were trying to deport him to Tanzania but he is not from there, and caused disruption. The five immigration police tried to hide his handcuffs so the passengers could not see he was a prisoner. The passengerscomplained, took photos and recordings, and said that it was unsafe for him to fly and looked like they were trying to kill him. It is alleged that the pilot of this flight had been paid extra to take Said.
The passengers went to talk to the pilot who remained hidden throughout this. The immigration guards said they will try to deport him again. He asked them why not then take him back to Somalia, which he has repeatedly asked for. The chains were taken off him, so the passengers couldn’t see and he was removed from the aircraft. When he was put back in the van the pilot came in to abuse him, calling him a ‘stupid bastard’. The officers said next time they are going to put him on a charter flight to Nigeria. They took him back to Colnbrook and put him in the short term holding facility where he currently remains. He has requested pictures be taken of his arms and for a doctor to examine his blood pressure and heart condition.
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