On the morning of 15th October, 39 people who had sought asylum in the UK were deported to Baghdad, Iraq on a chartered flight.
The Air Italy flight left from Stansted Airport, named “Operation Rangat” by the UK Border Agency. This was the first forced mass expulsion of people to southern Iraq from the UK.
An eyewitness told the International Federation for Iraqi Refugees “When my friends started shouting they couldn’t go back these big security guards handcuffed them and strong-armed them out of the bus onto the plane. They were treated like prisoners: it was like watching the footage from Guantanamo“
Violence and bloodshed continue in Iraq, which saw 1,891 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year. There are also widespread food shortages and lack of access to clean drinking water in many areas of Iraq.
Prior to such charter flights, deportees and any legal representatives are not told the date or flight on which they are being deported. This frustrates migrants’ opportunities for legally challenging a deportation and makes it more difficult for supporters to take action against a removal.
The Stop Deportation Network have called for a demonstration against deportations to Iraq on Saturday 17 October 2009, 2pm, Parliament Square, central London.
Campaign Against Air Italy:
NCADC are asking people to make their objections known to Air Italy. You can use this model letter to contact Giuseppe Gentile President & C.E.O.
e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone from UK: 00 + 39 + 0331 211 011
Fax from UK: 00 + 39 + 0331 211 0
Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 2051, which calls for “the deportation of Iraqi refugees to Iraq to be halted and for the Iraqi detainees threatened with forcible removal to be released immediately“.
Find out who the hell your MP is here: