Leah Gonzales has been in the UK since she was a child, she has grown up in the UK, attended school and college and has countless family members here including two children. Despite this the UK Home Office plan to deport her tomorrow via Caribbean Airlines flight BW903 despite serious reasons fearing persecution if forced to return to Trinidad.
Since Leah has been detained she has been moved from Colnbrook IRC to Yarlswood IRC to Dungavel IRC then back to Yarlswood IRC. From here she was taken to Peterborough Prison and kept in solitary confinement from the duration of her time there. It was only late last night that contact with the outside world was regained, most of us believed Leah had already been removed in secret.
While detained Leah has been beaten up by guards on numerous occasions including last night. Official complaints have been made about this treatment. She has bruises all over her body and has been told by guards today in Colnbrook IRC that for any medical assessment this will take 4 days. By this time her bruises will have faded and her removal may have taken place.
Leah’s family are extremely concerned about what could happen if she is forced to go to Trinidad. There is no family for her to stay with and she suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and numerous other mental health concerns. She is expected to go to a country she barely remembers and find a way to survive. In addition the memories Leah does have of Trinidad are filled with abandonment and sexual abuse. She fully believes that the perpetrators will find her as they were gang related attacks.
Until this time Leah has not spoken out about her past. Since being detained she has been faced with confronting and accepting these horrific acts from her childhood. The Home Office have clear guidelines regarding survivors of rape and torture, however, these have been ignored to the extent that they will not even allow an asylum interview to take place. Instead they have simply pursued travel documents and forced Leah into signing paperwork to ensure her removal. This included threatening her with imprisonment if she did not comply.
Legal representation has been non-existent because Leah has been moved so regularly while detained. While in Yarlswood she had an English lawyer who could not represent her once she was moved to Dungavel in Scotland. Then once again she was moved back, swiftly taken to prison and put in solitary confinement where access to legal representation as well as family, friends and supporters was impossible. Lawyers have said today they want to challenge the decisions to refuse an asylum interview yet there is not enough time.
Leah’s treatment reveals the complete disregard the UK Home Office and detention centre staff have for individuals and their legal rights. If this removal goes ahead it will be a complete violation and will put Leah at certain risk. Leah and her family identify as British, her children are British and she deserves to remain in the UK where she is safe.
Take action now to contact Caribbean Airlines and explain why Leah cannot be put on their flight tomorrow at 11:50am from London Gatwick Flight Number BW903.
Please quote her full name and Home Office Reference (Leah Rebecca Andrea Gonzales HO ref: G1168052) when speaking to the airline. All you need to do is explain that the pilot on any aircraft has the power to refuse to carry any passenger. Let staff know to pass this urgent information onto the pilot and request that the airline reconsider their compliance with the HO’s immigration agenda. Any amount of profit is not worth risking individuals’ lives.
CARIBBEAN AIRLINES CONTACT DETAILS
Arrivals and Departures: + 44 845 362 4225
Reservations and Information: + 44 207 644 8845
+ 44 845 362 4225 (after hours)
Information and Emergencies: + 44 129 350 7182
Any action you can take to help Leah stay are greatly appreciated and urgent action appeals like this really can make a difference.