Asylum seekers and fellow passengers resist airline deportations. Resistance is not futile!

How can 60 men vanish? Yesterday morning at Tinsley House immigration removal centre (IRC) near Gatwick airport, 15-20 men (Kurdish Iraqis) were being hurried to get ready to board a coach. Several were still waiting for responses from their solicitors, but their phones were quickly removed. At Colnbrook, another IRC at Heathrow airport, detainees had just received the news to get ready, and half an hour later all their phones were off too. Meanwhile at Dover there were about 20-30 men being hurried to board the coaches at about 11.30am, again phones off. When they asked where they were going to be taken so that they could let their families know, they were told, “Thats a Home Office Secret”. No departure time, flight number, airline, destination. So that’s around 60 Kurdish Iraqis being rounded up to be whisked away by the British state with maximum efficiency, minimum information, maximum fear. But this Iraqi Charter Flight never left the UK. Early reports suggest that detainees were forcibly put on to a Hamburg International plane. The plane sat on runway for four/five hours (probably because Erbil was unapproachable due to poor visibility caused by a sand storm). Then a ‘disturbance’ broke out, one detainee sustaining injuries, and a plane window was broken. The pilot said the plane was not air worthy and all detainees were removed from plane. All detainees are now back in removal centres. Dozens of Iraqi Kurds have been forcibly removed into an extremely dangerous and very often deadly environment – is it any surprise that they are resisting? These removals must end now.

Important update by International Federation of Iraqi Refugees-IFIR : Forcible Deportation of Iraqi asylum seekers ended in violence

Earlier this year, in a press release by the Respect Nigerians Coalition, it was explained how a man Ayodeji Omotade had been charged with threatening/abusive/insulting/disorderly behaviour towards British Airways (BA) crew, as a result of intervening in a violent deportation flight to Lagos on March 27, 2008, from Heathrow, London. Despite widespread public protest, including internationally, the case against Mr Omotade is going ahead, although his trial (due to take place Tomorrow Thursday 18th September at Uxbridge Magistrates Court) has been adjourned ? no new date yet. He sends his heartfelt thanks everyone who wrote messages of support.

Join a peaceful protest the day before at 12 noon, WEDNESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER, 2008, at British Airways PLC, Waterside (HAA3), Harmondworth, UB7 0GB.

Mr Omotade asks: “What would you do if someone on your flight was
distressed and crying out for help? Would you stay silent or would you
speak? I spoke and B A didn’t like it. This type of corporate tyranny
must be challenged and stopped.”

More details: Respect Nigerians Coalition: http://www.respectnigerians.com/BoycottBA.pdf

Note: the recently failed charter airline & tour operator XL Airways was previously forced by activist pressure to pull out from deportation flights. More pressure can and must be put on airlines not to participate in forced removals and deportations.

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