UPDATE 30/07/15 – Flight went ahead, man on roof came down after flight had departed, had his phone confiscated and is now locked in solitary confinement. Detainees who were told their tickets were cancelled taken to the flight at the last minute. Detainees with outstanding applications were also on board. Families have been split up forever.
Press Release: Man facing deportation on the roof at Harmondsworth and Reserve List for Charter Flight
Update for the PRESS RELEASE: Home Office to unlawfully mass deport West Africans, British Citizens and a Belgium National- One of the men facing deportation on the roof of Harmondsworth threatening to jump and the Reserve List
One of the men, Fred (name changed) who has a ticket for the charter flights tonight has been occupying the roof of the courtyard in Harmondsworth for the last couple of hours, threatening to jump. Whenever home office officials try and come near him, he is threatening to jump. A mattress has been placed in the courtyard below him.
He has been living in the UK for more than 13 years, since he was 11 years old and he knows no one in Sierra Leone where they are trying to remove him too. Yesterday he had said to us: “I am 24 years old and I have never been this scared in all my life”
Everyone else who is on the flight have been locked in their rooms, we have lost contact with at least 5 or 6 of the detainees we were in touch with. Movement for Justice have also reported that they started losing touch with women being removed from Yarl’s Wood over an hour ago.
We have spoken to two people who have been told that they are considered as reserves for the flight, even though it would be unlawful if they were removed. It is a blatant example of the Home Office thinking that they can deport people unlawfully with immunity, but also the true nature of Charter Flights, where the goal is to fill the seats at any cost, regardless of individual situations. Or even that the Home Office know that in the chaos of 100 people facing deportation, it is so much more difficult to challenge individual removals.
The first person who is in reserve had an EEA application refused on 21st of July, and was given an in-country right of appeal within 14 days, which is due in on the latest on the 4th august, but was filed yesterday. Based on European, 3 month pregnant partner who has been in the UK for 4 years. He told doctors that he was suffering from severe depression. In response he was told that that were 100 people on the list to be removed, but only 70 places of the flights. He is being considered on the reserve list, despite having an ongoing appeal against a EAA application.
The other person we have spoken to on the ‘reserve list’ suffers from a serious medical condition, he has a huge number of letters from his doctors, saying that it is not lawful to deport him due to his medical condition. However he is not being taken off the reserve list. He has been told he would be taken for the flight if someone’s ticket was cancelled or Judicial Review lodged successfully.
In both cases the Home Office are clearly ignoring reasons why these people should not be considered as ‘removal-able’ tonight.
It is not only those on the reserve list facing unlawful removal. David (not his real name), who as we mentioned in the previous press release has been taken to the flight. He has an ongoing EEA application pending based on his mothers european citizenship, no initial decision has been given. This application was submitted long before he was detained. He was detained two weeks ago and given a ticket. He has a British partner who is pregnant. Never claimed asylum and never been in jail.