With the start of the campaign to shut down BMI just around the corner we thought we’d fill you in on what BMI’s CEO Nigel Turner had to say in relation to their carrying out of deportations. The extracts are taken from an email correspondence between Nigel and a member of the public, who on reading about BB’s deportation decided to contact Nigel to inform him of the negative impact that BMI’s role in deporting people could have on the company.

Not surprisingly Nigel didn’t see anything wrong in BMI carrying out deportations. His final email stated:

“I fear we are not going to agree on this one, to take your stance would involve us making a decision that the UK borders and the Courts of the land do not properly safeguards of individuals.

That is not a position I can take…

Nigel really needs to get his head out of the clouds cos from whatever angle you look at it the safeguards are not proper and never will be and things are getting worse. The governments current agenda with respect to refugees is clear. Deport more people than claim asylum. Hardly a recipe for a system that “properly safeguards of individuals” now is it Nigel?

In an earlier email Nigel had this to say:

“it is important to know bmi does not knowingly deport people to persecution or similar peril. You will understand I do not hav the time or resources to investigate each case myself nor do bmi.

Well they did in this instance. Given the volume of emails, phone calls and faxes that Nigel and his staff received filling them in on BB’s situation you would have thought that they might have taken just a little time to look into the matter.

Nigel continued:

“The uk gov has very strict rules about deportation and fortunately a proper legaly based appeal system is in place to protect genuine asylum seekers who face persecution if returned to their homeland..”

As already stated Nigel is obviously under some allusion that the government cares about the well-being of migrants and refugees. As well as the targets to deport more applicants than those claiming asylum mentioned above, Nigel’s obviously completely unaware of the recent changes to the legal aid system that makes it far more difficult, if not impossible, for many asylum applicants to get proper legal representation.

And what about Mehdi Kazemi from Iran? It wasn’t the legal system that kept him from being deported back to Iran where his partner had recently been excecuted. It was only due to sustained pressure from campaigners that he was permitted to stay. If left up to the government and the courts he’d have been sent back to certain death like so many others. BMI run flights to Iran. It could so easily have been them that carried out his deportation. How many more people has BMI sent back to persecution or death?

Nigel went on:

“In this case the gentleman concerned [Babi] had been through all legal channels and therefore there was no reason not to transport him”.

No Babi hadn’t. We explained this to Nigel and BMI staff on the day. BB was in the process of filing a fresh claim based on new evidence about what he had endured in Azerbaijan. He had most definitely not been “through all the legal channels”. BMI were given plenty of opportunity to “investigate” this matter but chose to deport BB anyway. BB is now in hiding and fears for his life if his family were to find him. Nice work!

Nigel then stated:

“I understand he [Babi] had a number of supportrs who tried to disrupt bmi on the day, I am afraid that did not change our thinking.


Bmi is not alone in tansporting deporttees to my knowledge the only airline who refused to do it on a point of principle was XL who are unfortunately now bankrupt

I fear we won’t agree on this one but please be assured we take our responsibilities very seriously”.

We’ve already seen how BMI have absolutely no interest in the circumstances under which they are deporting people and as Nigel says here, despite a “number” of people calling BMI were not interested whatsoever in listening to what they had to say. Hardly taking their “responsibilities very seriously” now is it?

But what is Nigel trying to say in the second sentence? That because everyone else carries out deportations then that makes it ok? That if BMI stopped taking part in this terrible activity they would go the way of XL and end up bankrupt? I guess we shouldn’t be shocked here really. BMI have show that they are definitely not interested in acting ethically. Seems that its all about the money!

We wonder what BMI’s chairman Sir Michael Bishop, who is listed in the top 10 of powerful gay people in the UK, thinks of all this? Is he aware of what his company gets up to? Is he aware of the contradictory position this puts him in. While his charity The Michael Bishop Foundation donate money to gay rights organisation Stonewall his money making business BMI have played such a key role in denying a persecuted gay man his rights.

In a recent statement the head of the UK Borders Agency Lin Homer stated:


“The simple presence of either a law or a culture that frowns upon homosexuality is not of itself a reason (to grant asylum].”

Are these the “safeguards” in place that Nigel referred to? BMI runs flights to a number of countries where homosexuality is a crime, such as Ethiopia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. In the latter two homosexuality is punishable by death.

Supporting gay rights organisations on one hand and potentially deporting gay people back to death on the other. Doesn’t look good now does it Michael?

Another BMI deportation tomorrow

BMI have been involved in many further deportations since they took BB. They are potentially going to take part in another tomorrow. The person concerned is under extreme risk if their name or any other details are made public but the deportation is to take place on flight number BD913 at 14:30 London Heathrow to Addis Ababa.

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