You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Jean Pierre Gueutchue’ tag.
In the early hours of Monday 6 October, Jean Pierre Gueutchue was deported on a British Airways flight back to Cameroon. He had been detained in Campsfield Detention Prison, Oxfordshire, for some time and was originally set to be deported on July 21, 2008 on the infamous Kenyan Airways Flight 101 but this did not take place. While no other removal directions were give, Jean Pierre was not release and spent the last four months of his time in the UK incarcerated in Campsfield.
Jean Pierre fled Cameroon and arrived in the UK in 2003, where he made a claim for asylum. He had been living in Cardiff before being detained, where he had established strong links with his community and made many enduring friendships. He was a much loved figure in the asylum seeking and refugee community in Cardiff and was a prominent member of Refugee Voice Wales. He had worked as a volunteer at the local British Red Cross for a number of years. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
In Cameroon Jean Pierre was imprisoned and tortured for his political activity with the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), a secessionist movement that has been declared illegal in Cameroon. In prison he was subjected to torture including being kicked, whipped and a practice called ‘falaka‘, which is a where a victim’s legs are tied together and soles of the feet are beaten with the flat surface of a machete.
In a medico-legal report, an independent medical examiner concluded that the numerous scars on the lower parts of his legs are highly consistent with being repeatedly kicked and the ones on his arms consistent with being whipped by electric cables. The swelling and tenderness of Jean Pierre’s feet and the pain he experiences when walking are described as being highly consistent with ‘falaka’. Given the strength of this report it would have been thought that Jean Pierre would have definitely been granted asylum. However, the Home Office chose to disregarded this expert opinion, stating that:
“it is equally likely that any such treatment resulted from any number of other possible causes”
This is despite the fact that the report stated that it would be very rare to see so many scares and that it is unlikely that they would have been caused by other means.
As well as the physical and mental scares that had been caused by his torture, it is highly likely that he also contracted Hepatitis C during this time. Prior to his being detained Jean Pierre had been receiving medical treatment at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales for this, who had said has stated that it is vital that Jean Pierre’s health is reviewed in relation to his Hepatitis C treatment. This review was due to take place on 16 October, just 10 days after he was deported!
Jean Pierre’s deportation was also carried out even though Cardiff MP, Julie Morgan had taken up his case. On 2 October she had made a request for an urgent meeting with the Immigration Minister Liam Byrne, and in all probability it was this request that triggered the decision to quickly carry out the deportation over the weekend.
At lunchtime, on Sunday 5 October Jean Pierre was given his removal directions by Campsfield’s manager.
Tracy Ellicott, a friend and activist from the Campaign to Close Campsfield, who visited Jean Pierre that day said:
“Even though the faxed document showed it had been sent by the Home Office at 14.09 the previous day, his removal directions had been sat on for almost 24 hours. According to the Home Office, they didn’t need to give Jean Pierre the required 72 hours notice for removal as his case was now at ‘level 6′. According to them, as this was the 12th removal attempt the previous requirements had been overruled by a senior immigration official. The Home Office also said his connections with No Borders South Wales had been noted and not helped his case”
Clearly we’re having an impact and the tactic of phoning, faxing and emailing airline companies involved in deportations, that we and other campaigns advocate, is seen as so effective that the Home Office had to go to the lengths of bypassing its own rules in order to make sure that the deportation was carried out.
Following their meeting Tracy stated that Jean Pierre was:
“escorted from the interview room by 6 Campsfield guards who filmed him all the way. It was unbelievable”
Jean Pierre was then removed from Campsfield in the middle of the night and taken to the airport by 3 guards, one driver and 2 police officers. The police remained with him until the plane was ready to leave. The same procedure happened in France with 2 police officers boarding the plane.
When he arrived back in Cameroon he was met by more police who handcuffed him and put him in a cell. Luckily, Jean Pierre had managed to contact a friend who was able to bring money so that he could bribe the chief of police to release him into the custody of another police officer so he could leave the cell. He was told that he would be contacted when he was needed again. The next day he was arrested and questioned again, and again, had to bride his way out. He was told in no uncertain terms that his case was not closed.
Jean Pierre’s life is clearly very unsafe and we will do all that we can to continue to offer him solidarity. The situation that he now faces is not unique however. It is one amongst many that highlights the brutality of immigration controls. Everyday hundreds of people are deported from the UK back to situations they have risked their lives to escape. With the European migration regime intensifying all the time, we need, now more than ever, to stand in solidarity with all those living precarious lives because of capitalism and the state and to fight for a world free from migration controls. For an end to the hierarchies and selective inclusion that the European regime of migration management creates and for a world of equality and freedom for all.
Cameroon national and victim of torture Jean Pierre Gueutchue, was given very last minute removal directions today for tomorrow, 6:15am. Once again this goes against the usual 72 hours notice most deportees are given.
Jean Pierre Gueutchue a Cameroon national, is currently detained in Campsfield IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK tomorrow Monday 6th October 2008 at 06:15hrs on British Airways flight BA 302 to Paris and then Air France flight AF940 to Douala, Cameroon.
This will be the third attempt to remove Jean Pierre, who fled Cameroon after being tortured for his political activities, arrived in the UK in 2003 where he made a claim for asylum. All his appeals have been turned down and a fresh asylum claim was refused On Tuesday 15th July.
Jean Pierre suffers flashbacks, intrusive memories, nightmares about being tortured and is being medicated for depression, post traumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbances.
Please take urgent action
- Telephone British Airways on 08444 930 787. Let them know their image and business will suffer if they continue with deporting Jean Pierre to an unsafe and potentially life threatening situation.
- Fax British Airways medical clearance on 0208 7389644. Let them know that Jean Pierre is being treated for mental health problems and that you are concerned that he isn’t fit to fly
- Fax Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer British Airways on 020 8759 4314 and urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Jean Pierre Gueutchue. Use this model letter, you can copy/amend/write your own version. Please include all the details: Jean Pierre Gueutchue a Cameroon national, due to be forcibly removed from the UK tomorrow Monday 6th October 2008 at 06:15hrs on British Airways flight BA 302 to Paris and then Air France flight AF940 to Douala, Cameroon.
- Fax Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office on 020 8760 3132 (note new number) asking that Jean Pierre Gueutchue be granted protection in the UK. Use this model letter, you can copy/amend/write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include the HO ref M1206111).
If it is the case that Jean Pierre does fly on the BA flight then please: Ring Air France from 8am tomorrow on 0871 66 33 777 and ring their Customer Relations line from 9am tomorrow: 0870 142 4343 to urge them to not allow Jean Pierre to fly.
Please let the campaign know of any faxes/e-mails sent
GEO, the multinational corporation that runs Campsfield under contract from the Home Office, not content with making huge sums of taxpayers money to imprison people whose only crime is to have come to the UK in search of a better life, is currently paying migrants £5 for six hours of work – either in the kitchen or cleaning.
In a bid to extract as much profit as possible from the misery caused by the migration regime, GEO (since taking over the running of Campsfield) has cut back on both staffing levels as well educational, recreational and other provisions at the centre. The Home Office says that migrants imprisoned in detention centres are exempt from the minimum wage and are not forced to work. But those migrants that we have spoken to have said that there is so little to do in Campsfield that working gives them something to do and takes their minds of the uncertainty of what possibly lies ahead. This in no way excuses paying them the unbelievably measly sum of 83p an hour. Especially as refreshments and food that can be bought at Campsfield cost the same as that in the outside world.
A statement by Oxford and District Trades Union says:
We maintain our position that Campsfield is a shameful operation and should be closed. As long as it is open, jobs should be properly paid and be done by trained staff. For detainees there should be adequate recreational, educational and other provision… Detainees should receive an adequate financial allowance and not be obliged to act as slave labour for a multinational that makes big profits out of an operation that causes detainees enormous stress, uncertainty, general misery and often mental illness.
One of the people currently imprisoned in Campsfield is Jean Pierre Gueutchue a victim of torture from Cameroon. Jean Pierre had been living in Cardiff until he was detained when attending his weekly signing at the UK Border Agency. He was due to be deported on 21 July but thankfully this did not take place. Despite having had no new removal directions since this time Jean Pierre continues to be imprisoned in Campsfield. We are working with members of the Campaign to Close Campsfield to get him released back to Cardiff where he belongs.
See Jean Pierre’s campaign page for ways that you can support his fight to stay.
Whilst Jean Pierre languishes in Campsfield IRC in Oxfordshire, a volunteer from Asylum Welcome, a charity based in Oxford which helps asylum seekers, refugees and detainees, has a plan of action to stop Jean Pierre disappearing into the prison system in Cameroon, should he be deported.
As in many other countries, on arrival back to Cameroon, deportees are handed over to security forces by immigration officials. Deported refugees often simply disappear into the prison system of the country they have fled. Jean Pierre will undoubtedly face further persecution if this happens to him, as is very likely.
The plan consists of money being sent to a trusted friend in Cameroon on the day any deportation takes place. This money will then be used at the airport and buy Jean Pierre some valuable time so that he can go into hiding. This has been done successfully with other deportees on two previous occasions.
Money is currently being collected. Any donations that you can help with would be much appreciated and could make all the difference to Jean Pierre. If you would like to make a donation please email us
Despite the Home Office’s desire to deport Jean Pierre, on Kenya Airways’ notorious flight KQ101, Jean Pierre didn’t fly yesterday. We’re still not sure what caused the deportation to be cancelled. Appeals to Kenya Airlines to refuse to carry him appeared to fall on deaf ears. Likewise the Home Office, though they actually gave a response, it was hardly illuminating:
You will appreciate the information contained in applications made to the UK Border Agency is treated as strictly confidential and cannot be disclosed to other persons. This reflects the Agency’s legal obligations under Common Law, Human Rights and Data Protection legislation, and the treatment of private personal information under the code of practice on Access to information. It is therefore regrettable that we are unable to comment on the particular details of this case.
Early in the morning we received a phone call from Jean Pierre saying that he’d been told by a guard on his wing that he wouldn’t be flying because they didn’t have enough escorts for him. He also sent the following email out to all his supporters:
Just to let know that the officer in my wing tall me this morning that my flight has been cancel because there was no escort vehicle available for me for today and another one will be booked as soon as possible.
So please watch this space, I will soon need your help again
When we heard this news we were obviously elated, but also dubious about whether the guard was in fact telling the truth. In many cases refugee prisoners in detention centres have been fed false information in order to confuse both them and their supporters. But as the day drew on, and Jean Pierre still hadn’t been taken, it became more apparent that he would indeed be staying.
At 8.30pm half an hour after his plane had flown, we received another phone call from Jean Pierre. He said that the guards had told him that they were taking him to the airport. Jean Pierre refused to go with the guards until they told him where they were taking him. After quite some time he was told that he was going to be moved to Dover detention prison.
Tactics like this, ‘ghosting‘ people around the country at night, out of the eye of the public, are a common reality for those who have to endure time in one of the UK’s ten detention prisons (‘Immigration Removal Centres’). They cut people off from their supporters, and make it more difficult for them to keep in contact with legal representatives. But Jean Pierre refused to go, and following a number of phone calls to their superiors, the guards informed him that he wouldn’t be moving to Dover IRC after all.
Jean Pierre is still in Campsfield IRC but hasn’t received new removal directions yet. We are still looking for ways to get him out and back to Cardiff where he belongs! Thanks to everyone who sent faxes, emails, letters and made phone calls to the airline and the Home Office! As Jean Pierre said in his email, watch this space he may soon need your help to stop his deportation once again.
Jean Pierre Gueutchue‘s removal flight at 8pm today (Monday 21st July) is on the notorious flight KQ101. This Kenya Airways flight has been charted by the Home Office to forcibly deport ‘failed’ asylum seekers to Nairobi, from where they are flown all over Africa and handed over to the local authorities.
In October 2007 the Independent newspaper reported
The echo of George Orwell’s Room 101 is unhappily appropriate. On this Kenya Airways jet, many asylum-seekers’ worst nightmares do come true. KQ101 is the deportation flight chartered by the British Government to return refugees to Africa. According to human rights groups, this flight carries out the most Africa-bound removals of unsuccessful asylum applicants to the UK. It has also become a flight that has attracted allegations of abuse by guards.
The Home Office has a number of contracts with airlines for removal flights of failed asylum-seekers. Kenya Airways admit that it has one of these government contracts, but claims that “We have not received any complaints about these flights” – lets change that for a start!
Kenya Airways’ slogan is “The Pride of Africa” and like all large corporations they like to maintain a positive public image, it is sickly ironic, given their involvement in mass deportation, that one of the charities they support is Born Free.
Of course abuse is not limited to this particular flight, Stephanie Toumi was so badly assaulted by four Group 4 Securicor (G4S) guards on her deportation flight to Cameroon last month that she now has to use a wheelchair.
The escorts threw themselves on me. One scraped me and I fell on my stomach, the other trapped my arms, twisting them behind and the other two put on handcuffs. I felt a very severe pain in my body and I wanted to twist my right foot to get up, but one of them totally paralysed this foot by giving me a sharp blow with his knee.
Such stories are becoming all too common, the abuse of deportees by private companies in forced removals has been well documented in the June 2008 report Outsourcing Abuse.
Jean Pierre Gueutche’s Last Chance
This Monday 21st July please take just a few minutes to send faxes and make phone calls to raise your objection to this deportation. Bombarding the airline and Home Office seems to be Jean Pierre’s last hope, as all legal avenues have been exhausted. Pressure on the carrying airline has been shown to be effective, as with the last-minute Kemi Ayinde campaign where British Airways refused to fly her.
1) Send faxes all day Monday to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office using this model letter asking that Jean Pierre Gueutchue be granted protection in the UK.
Fax: 020 7035 3262 (+ 44 20 7035 3262 if you are faxing from outside UK)
2) Send urgent faxes all day Monday to Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager Kenya Airways using this model letter, urging them not to participate in forcibly removing a victim of torture.
Fax: 020 8745 5027 (+44 20 8745 5027from outside the UK)
Tel: 020 8283 1800 (+ 44 2082 831 800 from outside the UK)
Also try this ‘emergencies only’ telephone no: 020 8759 7366
Jean Pierre Gueutchue is currently detained at Campsfield House IRC and is due to be forcibly removed on July 21st at 8pm on Kenyan Airways Flight 101.
Jean Pierre fled Cameroon and arrived in the UK in 2003 where he made a claim for asylum.
In Cameroon he was imprisoned and tortured for his political activity with the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC), a secessionist movement that has been declared illegal in Cameroon. In prison he was subjected to torture including being kicked, whipped and a practice called ‘falaka’, which is a where a victim’s legs are tied together and soles of the feet are beaten with the flat surface of a machete.
Jean Pierre suffers flashbacks, intrusive memories, nightmares about being tortured and is being medicated for depression, post traumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbances.
Jean Pierre also suffers from Hepatitis C and Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales has stated that it is vital that Jean Pierre’s health is reviewed in relation to his Hepatitis C treatment in October this year.
In the light of the current situation facing members of the SCNC in Cameroon and Jean Pierre’s health status, he should be offered protection in the UK.
See Jean Pierre’s campaign page for more background information.
What you can do to help:
1) Send urgent faxes immediately to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith using this model letter, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Jean Pierre Gueutchue be granted protection in the UK.
Fax: 020 7035 3262 (00 44 20 7035 3262 if you are faxing from outside UK)
2) Send urgent faxes to Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager Kenya Airways using this model letter, urging them not to participate in forcibly removing a victim of torture.
Fax: 020 87455027(+44 020 87455027 from outside the UK)
Tel: 020 82831800 (+44 20 82831800 from outside the UK)