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Emile must stay!

No-one is illegal | 06.05.2005 12:43 | Migration | Repression | Social Struggles | Birmingham

My name is Emile Youmbie De Souzato; I was born in Yaounde capital of Cameroon on 31/01/77 and was raised by my mother as my father left us when I was very young. We lived in a poverty stricken area and were eventually forced to live on the streets, as my mother was unable to support us financially. I was bullied as a child and tried to earn money to support us but it was very hard.

In 1995, I became politically involved and joined the Social Democratic Front (SDF) to promote democracy, human rights and social justice. In 1997 I was made a subsection leader of the SDF for my region.

On 1st December 2002 I attended a meeting with my fellow SDF members. The meeting continued until about 7:30pm when a group of policemen and military members of the operational command, forced their way into the room and began to attack and beat us. Local informants must have advised the police and military services of our meeting and also of my position in the political group. I was therefore severely attacked and brutally beaten before I fell unconscious.

I woke up three days later in a dark room. I had been arrested for my political activities. Representatives of the 'Groupement Mobile D'Intervention' (a government organisation set up to suppress dissent) began to interrogate me. I refused to sign papers about my activities and therefore I was tortured and beaten each night for 3 months and forced to sign papers.

The extent and full details of my beatings and torture can be found in my medico-legal report prepared by Dr A Callaway.

I escaped prison in September 2002 with the help of an inmate and a charity called Centre Marie Therese.

I arrived in the UK on 5th October 2002 and claimed asylum at Gatwick Airport. I was sent to the Millennium Hotel in London where I lived for 2 weeks until I was sent to Coventry on 20th October.

I went to see the Social Services Department for medical advice and they sent me to NHS for assessment. I waited 5 months to see a psychiatric nurse and a further 12 months to receive psychiatric help. I have been under medical care since then and still suffering from mental stress. I have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) and am receiving psychiatric counselling.

I attended my interview with Immigration on 11 November 2002, in Liverpool. On 29th November 2002 I was informed that I had been unsuccessful. I immediately made an appeal against this decision and on 8th January 2004, my Adjudicator dismissed my case because they had not received a medical report from my psychiatric nurse. On 2nd February 2004 I wrote another letter of appeal against the decision of the Adjudicator. This appeal letter was accepted and a new hearing date was given for 10th February 2005. Again my case was unsuccessful and I made yet another appeal. On 13 April, I received notification from the Home office that my case has been dismissed and have been asked to leave the UK.

I am still active in my political beliefs and continue to attend public meetings with other Cameroonian activists at various locations in the UK. Our meetings take place regularly and we organise demonstrations and protests in order to be heard and to express our views. We organized a demonstration outside the UK Cameroonian Embassy, when the Prime Minister was due to meet the President of Cameroon Paul Biya, I can be easily recognised from media footage/photographs published in national newspapers. My life will be most definitely at risk if I were deported to Cameroon.

I am in desperate need of support. I am currently living alone in a one bed roomed flat in Coventry. I don't have many friends and am sometimes scared to leave my home. I am still suffering mentally from the trauma I had to go through in Cameroon and I still suffer from nightmares and panic attacks. I am also a patient of the psychiatric unit and receive counselling on a regular basis.

I have 4 main objectives in life. They are to become well again, remain permanently in the UK, to be employed (self supported), and to continue helping fellow Cameroonians at home and in the UK.

To achieve these aims I have to persuade the Home Secretary to allow me to remain in the UK on compassionate grounds I cannot do this by myself.

What you can do to help

Friends and exiled Cameroonians in the UK have helped Emile set up a campaign to try and persuade the Home Secretary to allow Emile to remain in the UK. The campaign has drawn up a petition and model letter attached, which they are asking everyone to print off, fill them in and get as many other people as possible to do the same, and return them to the campaign office. When they have collected enough signatures, the campaign will present them to the Home Secretary.

Let your friends know about the 'Emile Youmbie De Souzato Campaign' and get them to visit his web page read about the case and download the model letter and petition.

'Emile Youmbie De Souzato Campaign'
C/o African Welfare Association
28 Catherine Close
Stoke Aldermoor

Cameroon: Information on the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website
Cameroon's human rights record is poor. Extra-judicial executions, protracted detention without trial, torture of detainees and appalling prison conditions were all highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in 1999. The international community (through the European Union, the commonwealth, the United Nations, and bilaterally) has been pressing the Government of Cameroon ever since to implement the recommended reforms.

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