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Anti-deportation campaigners blockade Tinsley House immigration prison

imc-uk-features | 20.03.2009 00:00 | Migration

Early in the morning of 17th March, about 20 anti-deportation campaigners blockaded Tinsley House detention centre at Gatwick airport, where some Iraqi refugees due for deportation were being held. Using D-locks and superglue, the aim of the protest was to try and prevent the deportees being taken from the detention centre to Stanstead airport, where a special charter flight to Iraqi Kurdistan was scheduled that afternoon. The blockade was violently removed by police after about 6 hours and Tinsley deportees, along with some 50 others brought from Campsfield and Dover detention centres, were put on the flight, which landed in Sulaimaniyya around 10pm. Nine protesters, including the six locked and glued to the gate, were arrested under Section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (failure to leave land after a warning) and taken to Crawley police station. They were released on conditional bail later that night and are due in court on 30th March.

Tinsley House IRC blockaded by protesters | Tinsley House blockade ends with arrests and deportees taken to airport | pix | video

Update: Seven of those arrested pleaded guilty to the charge of 'aggravated trespass' on 30 March 2009. The other two pleaded not guilty and are due in court again soon.

Links: Stop Deportation Network

Related: Flying people to torture and death | Hunger strike in Campsfield as deportee takes his own life in Iraq | Dozens of Iraqi Kurds deported.. again | No Deportations to Unsafe Iraq

hands superglued to the gate
hands superglued to the gate

This was the eighth time in the last eight months that people have been deported to Iraq by charter flight, with over 400 people deported. The Home Office argues that, unlike other parts of Iraq, Kurdistan is 'safe'. However, a number of recent deportees have reportedly committed suicide, been kidnapped or killed in car bombs.

Unlike many other European countries, the UK government is refusing to ratify Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits the collective expulsion of foreigners. Instead, it is increasing resorting to the use of charter flights to deport people, using airline companies such as Hamburg International and Czech Airlines.

Deportees are not usually told the date or time of the flight's departure. In previous flights, people have been deported before their solicitors have had a chance to appeal or submit judicial reviews. Each deportee is handcuffed and accompanied by two security guards. The total cost of the flights are unknown, though it is assumed to be significant. The Home Office constantly refuses to release such information as it may apparently be 'commercially sensitive'.



Numbers, police brutality and violent deportations

20.03.2009 12:22

I think we were more than 20. We were 15 at the beginning, than a few more people arrived from London, than a contingent from Brighton. I am not very good at counting - especially when D-locked and superglued to the gate of an immigration prison - but I thought it was a great turn up considering the very short notice, the very early rise in the morning and the fact that until the very last we did not have precise information about the charter flight. Some people did not make it because we had to change time at the last moment. Some others who arrived later were prevented from getting there by the police. The police also prevented all journalists who arrived from getting near Tinsley House - I would like to know under what powers - and arrested one of us protesters who was filming the violent arrests that put an end to the blockade, confiscating his camera and film. So the world will never be able to see how much unreasonable force was used. Speaking for myself I can only say that my arms are still hurting after they twisted my hands behind my back and lifted me up like that. Twice.
Which is nothing compare to the violence on deportees assaulted during deportation attempts - by escorts usually, that is thugs privately hired not normal cops: broken fingers and ribs, dislocated wrists and ankles, extensive bruising, people coughing up blood or passing blood with urine, permanent nerve damage, sexual injuries etc. (Look at the Medical Justice website, they have documented some 300 cases: Than on normal airlines passengers often complain and pilots often order these poor people off the flight, but if people are deported by charter flight there is no one there to see.

one of the blockaders


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  1. youtube video link — until all are free