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Support migrant arrested during no borders demo at Lunar House, Croydon

No Border Camp legal & prisoner support | 28.09.2007 12:14 | No Border Camp 2007 | Migration | London | South Coast

The distressed asylum seeker who was arrested as protesters gathered outside the Border and Immigration Agency headquarters last Friday, remains on remand at Croydon’s HMP Highdown. Please support him by: providing a bail address, attending court, writing to him.

The distressed asylum seeker who was arrested as protesters gathered outside the Border and Immigration Agency headquarters last Friday, remains on remand at Croydon’s HMP Highdown.

He unfortunately did not make bail at his hearing on Thurs 27 Sep, mainly because he is NFA and has nowhere to be bailed to. They have again upped his charges to assault of a police officer and Public Order Act, s 5.

What you can do:

• Provide a bail address (contact email below for further details of what is needed)

• Show support by attending the court hearing
– Tues 2nd Oct, Croydon Magistrates Court, 9.30am

• Write to him / send gifts / visit him at Highdown or on his release
(contact email below)

• Pass on your contact details if you witnessed his arrest at Lunar House
(contact email below)

Over 200 people from the Gatwick No Border Camp gathered in East Croydon from 10am to protest against the mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers at the hands of the UK immigration authorities. Around 11am, a man was leaving Lunar House, crying and shouting in a clearly distraught manner. Three Metropolitan Police officers (ZD20, ZD824 and ZD198) immediately grappled the man to the ground and restrained him whilst he lay face down on the concrete forecourt. He received cuts to his face as he shouted "Help me, help me! They are against poor people. This is what happens to poor people. These people are not human." He was then arrested and taken away in a waiting police van.

Observed by all present and filmed by the press group and the legal observer team, the demonstrators complained to the remaining policemen about the level of force used. They were invited to go to the police station to make a formal complaint. The group then proceeded en masse to Croydon Police Station, where the police invoked Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 (imposing conditions on public assemblies) and penned the protesters in.

One protester commented: "The man was obviously distressed and the police and security guards, rather than defusing the situation, acted in a very violent and aggressive way. The man was clearly in a vulnerable mental state and needed medical care, not being locked up in a cell."

Two protesters separately refused to be penned in and were subsequently arrested, handcuffed and put in cells adjacent to where the asylum seeker was held. One of the two, who was arrested under Section 5 of the Public Order Act (causing harassment, alarm and distress), said: "I went to complain about police heavy-handedness and immediately got assaulted by a policeman myself… This kind of behaviour is simply pathetic; they seem determined to radicalise us."

Sarah Bennett, a legal observer who witnessed the incident, said: "The police reaction was clearly over the top. They did not attempt mediation but, instead, used unnecessarily excessive force."
Legal & prisoner support at the camp have arranged lawyers to represent the man, have attended both his court hearings so far, visited and maintained contact with him at HMP Highdown. We are in the process of arranging a medical assessment by doctors used to working with and seeking justice for migrants.

For further information, please contact:
The Gatwick Area No Border Camp legal & prisoner support
E-mail: (put legal & prisoner support in subject line please)

No Border Camp legal & prisoner support
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update: now out on bail. thanks everyone for support.

04.10.2007 11:42

He was finally released last night after a couple of bungled bail hearings.

No Border Camp legal & prisoner support