Skip to content or view screen version

Happy 14th Birthday Meltem Avcil: A Dark Day for a Young Girl

Oscar Beard | 26.11.2007 01:33 | Migration | London | World

This is how, after mass media interest into the story of 14-year-old Meltem Avcil, the UK authorities tried to make this young girl and her mother disappear in a pure case of washing your hands of the problem.

As I was out there, in that barren wasteland surrounding Yarl's Wood IRC, filming the protest and all this information unfurled, it became very apparent how far the UK authorities will go to make people disappear, especially those who dare to talk to the media from inside the immigration detention system.

For three hours Meltem Avcil and her mother disappeared. No one knew where they had gone and no information could be checked out or confirmed.

Then it was confirmed a private jet had been hired for Thursday morning, 22 November 2007, to extract Meltem and her mother and deport them back to Germany where they would no doubt be sent straight back to Turkey and face possible prison, torture or death.

By 3pm it was confirmed Meltem was in Bedford hospital under the supervision of three Yarl's Wood guards, who were reported to have not stopped eating the entire time they were there. Metlem was booked in for psychiatric evaluation.

The guards tried to enforce Yarl's Wood rules and regulations inside the hospital, and unfortunately the doctors, nurses and staff seemed to cow down to this. It's amazing what a uniform can enforce, despite having no jurisdiction in any way shape or form.

But the private jet was canceled, at what cost to the UK taxpayer no one knows, and Meltem finally returned to Yarl's Wood, after the European Parliamentary delegation were long gone.

But at least this story does have a happy ending. On Friday morning, 23 November 2007, Meltem and her mother were released from detention. But they can still be picked up at any time, which why the eyes of the world must keep watching, for them and everyone having to face this situation every day. The hard work and campaigning by people like the SOAS Detainee Support Group to keep this young girl's story in the press, both independent and mainstream, the pressure put on to other groups from the European Parliament and the UK Childrens Commissioner made this happen.

But the fact that UK authorties could do this, on a young girl's 14th birthday, to treat her like this, like being locked up at the age of 14 isn't bad enough, to do this just shows an absolute contempt for the human life, for the human feeling, for the human emotion.

And that is why this should simply be never allowed to happen again. Locking up what are deemed "illegal immigrants" will no longer stand. Locking up children will not stand. Private industry profiting from the incarceration of "illegal immigrants" will not stand.

Oscar Beard