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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). 

 

TOMORROW MORNING

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

 

On 20th September at 3.15pm gay radical artist and No Borders South Wales activist BB was deported on a BMI flight to Azerbaijan.

BB sought asylum in the UK in 2006 following years of persecution because of his sexuality. His brothers on finding out that he was gay had threatened to kill him, with one attack from his eldest brother leaving him with only eight teeth.

The radical nature of his art and poetry had also led him to become a target of government repression. A number of his artworks had mocked members of the ruling elite. The most famous of which, and the one that led to a number of threatening visits by the Ministry of National Security (MNS), Azerbaijan’s modern day version of the KGB, was a photographic piece in which he parodied the ubiquitous statues of the Azerbaijani President, who, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, destroyed many of Lenin’s and erected ones of himself instead.

BB was dispersed to Cardiff in December in 2006 and quickly immersed himself in the activist scene there. He regularly helped out at Cardiff’s social centre PAD and despite his precarious immigration status was involved in many campaigns and was a much loved and active member of No Borders South Wales.

BB was snatched on Tuesday when he attended his weekly signing at the UK Border Agency building in Cardiff.

When he was informed that he was going to be detained and deported BB responded by saying:

“I feel sick”

To which the UK Border agent told him:

“well you make us sick, you’re going back where you belong”

Nothing less than we should expect from the kinds of people who do this job. In a recent article in Metro Vicky Lacey, an Arrest Team leader from the UK Border Agency clearly highlights the dehumanisation that must occur in order for the border regime to be implemented, stating:

“If I felt sorry for everyone I wouldn’t get out of bed. I just have to treat them as cases rather than people”

See goes on to say that:

“I’ve been trained to use a baton and handcuffs”

But probably the most disturbing statement in this interview was her description of workplace and dawn raids on families as enjoyable:

“The raids are fun. I’m not tied to my desk and every day is different”

Within an hour of being arrested BB was handcuffed, bundled into the back of a blacked out van and taken to Rumney police station. Here a friend was able to see him and found him a complete wreck.

The day after his incarceration a demo was held outside the UK Border Agency building at 31-33 Newport Rd, Cardiff. Over 50 people gathered outside the building in order to show their solidarity with BB with the front steps of the building being covered with banners. Many then went up to Rumney police station and were able to pass BB a card containing messages of support.

Late Wednesday night he was then transported under the cover of darkness to Campsfield detention prison, Oxford.

When he arrived he sent the following message:

“PlizPLIZpliz i wontWONTwont GO back. i WANT die HERE THAN AZERBAIJAN. HELL O FAKING 21st Century! Can I stay in UK? Can I live 5 year happy here? FAK THE LAW MAKER! humanity”

Whilst in detention BB was given a medical examination. The subsequent report strongly recommended that BB be given a proper psychiatric evaluation. Despite this, the Home Office continued with its plans to deport.

BB was initially due to be deported at 8pm on Saturday the 20th on an Azerbaijan Airlines flight to Baku. However, following a huge amount of harassment from friends, supporters and many other activists from around the country Azerbaijan Airlines bowed to the pressure and refused to carry him. But this did not stop the Home Office rescheduling his deportation to a British Midland Airways (BMI) flight at 3.15pm the same day. This time despite a huge struggle, which continued up until the last minute BB was eventually deported.

Friend and No Borders South Wales activist, Noah Moore said:

“While BB is currently safe, if anything happens to him the state and BMI will have blood on their hands. His deportation has left a huge hole in all his friends lives and demonstrates the brutality of immigration controls. He was ripped away from his new home, friends and people that loved him just so the government can keep its deportation statistics up. We didn’t fight to keep BB here out of compassion or because he had suffered. We don’t care why BB came. We fought for BB because but he is one of us, a fighter for freedom of movement, for equality, and a world without borders”.

Following his deportation BB went into hiding but he was able to send the following email message:

 

FAKKK YOU MISS JACQUYI LOCKSMITH FROM HELLBAIJAN

FAKK YOU UNITED KING KONG YANKEE GO KHOMEBASHI

WILL NOT DIED N KILL MYSELF

WILL CONITINE EXCEPT YOU GIVING ME ADVENTURE PAIN

I AM LIVE BUT ITS VERY TERRIBLE PLACE TO BE HERE

I AM AFFRAID OF MY FAMILY COME FIND ME HERE

I LAV ALL ALL YOU THERE

YOU ALL SO GOOD AND NICE PLESANT TO ME

We will post more precise details soon but we can assure all those we are concerned about him that BB is currently safe.

While BB’s deportation has left us all saddened and very much in a state of shock it has also served to doubled our resolve to continue to struggle for an end to all migration controls and the criminalisation of people who have done nothing other than cross artificial, yet brutally real borders, in order to build new lives for themselves. We are now more than ever committed to fighting for a world where people are free to move as and when they like. Where people’s relationships can not be torn apart just because someone happens to have been born in one place rather than another.

We are heartened by the solidarity for BB that appeared across the blogsphere, we tried to keep a tally of blog posts as the campaign progressed, here’s a few that have appeared since BB’s deportation; Cosmodaddy, Freedom for Tooting, Gays without Borders, Ravenhurst, LGBT Asylum News, Gay Activist, Leanne Wood, Unzipped, Cardiff Radical Socialist, JFLAG and Queers without Borders – sorry if we have missed anyone.

No Borders. No Nations. Stop Deportations.

For BB xxx

Migrants imprisoned at Campsfield House detention prison are being paid slave wages it has been discovered.

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.

Activists from No Borders South Wales, No Borders Bristol, and Zimbabwe Development Support Association demonstrated outside the UK Border Agency’s regional office for Wales and South West in Cardiff today in protest against the UK’s racist and repressive migration controls.

Despite some rather petty territorial behaviour from the Border Agency staff (who removed a banner that was attached to ‘their’ railings) and a short visit from local police who had been ‘sent down to check that everything was passing off peacefuly’, the event went very well.

The turn out was good, the response from passers-by was great, and we managed to hand out a load of leaflets to asylum seekers being forced to sign on inside the building. One of the main reasons we do a regular picket of this place is to distribute leaflets to the refugees who are victimised there. By informing them about the support that’s available and urging them to campaign for the right to stay in the UK, we encourage people to take control of their lives rather than submitt to whims of an asylum regime that aims to de-humanise them at every turn.

In the wake of the recent hunger strike by 50 inmates of the squalid detention prison at Campsfield IRC over their continued detention, it was truly inspiring to see people coming together to offer solidarity to migrants living in our community. The hunger strike was started by 13 Kurdish refugees after news that Hussein Ali, who had attempted to claim asylum in the UK, commited suicide two days after he was forcibly deported to Iraq.

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

Another flight leaves without an unwilling passenger!

Another deportation flight leaves without one of it's unwilling passengers!

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 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)
E-mail: Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.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)

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