This comes from a detainee we have come to know and who anti-deportation activists in Nottingham are supporting. Like many desperate Zimbabweans she came to the UK on Malawian passport. This is not illegal in international law if you are fleeing persecution. She narrowly escaped being removed last week due to a Home Office cock-up, but we can’t rely on another one of those. Please watch this space for more news of how to support her. We don’t want to give her name, but here is her experience?
This comes from a detainee we have come to know and who anti-deportation activists in Nottingham are supporting. Like many desperate Zimbabweans she came to the UK on Malawian passport. This is not illegal in international law if you are fleeing persecution. She narrowly escaped being removed last week due to a Home Office cock-up, but we can’t rely on another one of those. Please watch this space for more news of how to support her. We don’t want to give her name, but here is her experience.
Hello. Im 28 and I am a Zimbabwean national who is at the present moment detained at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Clapham, Bedfordshire. I was given a flight date for Tuesday the 6th January 2008 , where I was to be removed to Malawi by force.
In Zimbabwe I was residing in Harare in Warren Park and here in England I was living in Kent since 2004 and I moved to Leeds in 2007 where I was until I was brought to Yarl’s Wood. I have been in detention since the 20th October 2008 and recently I was given a flight to Malawi despite me not being a Malawian and despite the fact that my case was still being heard at the high court.
I will not forget this dreadfull day in my life, the time of the flight was 7pm, but I was told to prepare my luggage and get ready to leave the centre by 12pm and then was transported from the centre to the airport at 2pm. I did not expect to be escorted by 4 people, three of them were huge and hefty men and one was a woman, thats when I knew that this day was going to be difficult one for me as the men had handcuffs and looked like they were prepared for a fight.
We got to the airport around 3:30pm and had to wait in the van out in the cold for some hours until they were ready to force me on the plane. I thought my life was over, one of the men who was in charge of the escort kept asking me if i had contacted my lawyer about the flight or about the injunction from the court to stop the removal order and I assured him that I was not going to board the plane no matter what it took.
I found it to be an unlawfull thing to be removed to a country that I did not belong to because of the passport I was holding, I was protesting all the way to the airport and trying to explain to the escorts that I was a Zimbabwean and that I had enough evidence to prove this and that i had used the passport to flee from my country Zimbabwe, but they turned a blind eye on the matter.
I explined that I had a friend who had been in the same situation as mine and she was also detained at Yarl’s Wood. she was deported to Malawi by force and Malawian Immigration arrested her for “abusing their” passport and she was to be held in custody for a month and then later be deported to Zimbabwe the country she had ran away from. All this happened even though UK Border Agency deny that Zimbabweans deported to Malawi are arrested or detained and are deported to Zimbabwe. My friend phoned me from Zimbabwe and told me of her ordeal in confidence as she is still in hiding.
All this I explained to the escorts and all they said was they were just doing thier job. I was tired, cold and scared all the time I was in the van and I was very disturbed. at 6: 20 pm, I was informed by the leader of the escorts that the flight was cancelled , he gave me a reason that there was something wrong with the booking of the tickets and that I was to be returned to the centre. I cried with joy, my prayers had been answered?.