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.
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
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'.
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: http://www.medicaljustice.org.uk). 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