Protesting the Brutality of Deportation at Colnbrook

May 14, 2009

Activists from the Stop Deportation Network and the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees blockaded the Colnbrook detention centre at Heathrow yesterday. 12 activists locked on for four hours in the road in an attempt to halt the deportation of 45 Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers.

According to Indymedia, 6 of the protesters were arrested, a couple of them violently, as the blockade was broken up by police.

The action came as those detained in Colnbrook mounted their own form of resistance. As the Guardian reports, “one of the detainees was refusing to leave Colnbrook and had allegedly been manhandled by security guards” while “another six had taken off their clothes and refused to get dressed” and “One of the deportees has been on hunger strike for 10 days in protest at his forced removal.”

Deportations like this are hardly carried out with the interests of the refugees in mind. Najih Rahim Mohammed, for example, had “just heard that the people I left Iraq to escape – people who had killed my brother – have recently kidnapped my uncle but the UK government doesn’t care.”

Mohammed complained that he had been unable to put his case effectively owing to a lack of money, while since leaving Iraq he has struggled to build a new life, with a daughter a partner. 9 such mass deportations have left Heathrow in the past year, destined for Iraq.

That’s despite “reports of deportees who have committed suicide, been kidnapped or killed in car bombs. Nobody should be sent back to Iraqi Kurdistan” according to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees.

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