They playing psychological games with us.

Yarl’s Wood Detainee, Korcari, gives an account of detention conditions, protests, and the escape attempt.

There have been a couple of protests in Yarl’s Wood because people have been here for months and months. People are given them a hard time so that they don’t think about coming here again. I think it’s a form of torture – it’s a mode of torture. To keep you for years in detention then deport them – to waste their time.

I have experienced unlawful things – I’ve not been removed and not been released. My solicitor is challenging them now for unlawful detention. It’s been going for 6 months. The officers here have been provoking my temper, I’ve been threatened by members of staff to see how I’m going to react – so they can punish me. For example, when I was not saying anything, an officer suddenly said ‘stop threatening me’ and he turned on the panic alarm and other officers came and took me to the block – solitary confinement. And then after a four hours they take me out and say it’s a mistake. They playing psychological games with us. Another time I tried to inform them about a protest that was happening – and then they spread the rumour amongst the residence that I was a snitch – I tried to help them but they used it against me.

Yesterday people were united because they have been holding people for 6 months, 12 months, 9 months. And then deporting them. They say why are they holding people for so long. They got frustrated and they wanted to be released. There were more people this time – half of detention was protesting. And some of them managed to escape the centre. They did it in the gym, they took the equipment, and they broke the doors. There are helicopters and police all over the place. They caught half of them and half of them managed to escape.

I feel good for the people who were able to escape. They are free now. God bless them – I wish they never caught them. Because to be an immigrant is not a crime. All humans are the same, we are all meant to be on this planet. We should not be discriminated against. No human is illegal – we are all meant to live in this planet. We are humans. We are with blood and with heart, we are the same as them. This is very horrible. Everyone deserves a chance – why are you keeping us in detention.

Now they are locking up the place. We’re are all in our rooms. Until they fix the doors everyone is locked in. So we are forced to stay in our rooms like animals. Even in prison you have association. Here right now we don’t get out.

I would like people to stand up for immigrants because we are the same as them. We are not different. We are from other countries but we are not aliens. We should not be detained and we should experience what they are doing to us.


There’s not even candlelight here

This statement was given at 16:45 on 04/11/2022 by a person held in Harmondsworth IRC. At the time the centre had been without running water or electricity since midnight.

At exactly midnight the lights went off, everything went off, and the emergency bells went off. It’s coming up 17 hours now.

We are still waiting. We’re afraid to go behind doors [return to cells at 9pm], because the [emergency] buzzer’s not working, the electricity’s not working, it’s pitch dark. There’s not even candlelight here. The only light we get is through the window, but the windows are all black because it’s Heathrow. And you can’t open the windows, they’re all triple glazed and there’s no air.

It’s cold, and when we go out now it’s dark. A lot of people are struggling. They didn’t have breakfast or lunch – there’s a lot of vegetarians and vegans here and they keep saying the vegetarian food is coming, coming, coming, but it didn’t come all day.

We’ve been given two bottles of water to wash your face and have a drink, but there’s no running water, nothing.

We still haven’t got a place to go and use the toilet. People are struggling now. There are two people to a cell. It’s unbearable – someone wanted to go to the toilet for 2 or 3 hours and the manager told them to use a bag. Shit in a bag. That’s horrendous – how can you say that? This is the United Kingdom, the world looks up to us.

As I’m talking I’m sweating, my hair is standing up, I’ve got goose bumps.

It’s coming up 5 and I’ve got 4 people sitting around me listening to me what I tell you.

I’m afraid to go behind the door at 9. If the buzzer’s not working they shouldn’t be keeping people in their rooms for 12 hours. There’s no water, nobody can go to the toilet – people are basically going to the toilet in the bin.

In another wing there’s a gentlemen that’s had 3 strokes, he’s in his 60s and he’s been here for the last 25 months. He phoned me last night because he was in a bad way. I had to call an officer and ask them to help him because the emergency buzzer wasn’t working.

Normally [cell] opening time is 8am but they didn’t open until 10:30 today. Before that no officers came to check on people. The buzzer wasn’t working – god forbid something happened to someone. There should have been people coming round to check everyone’s alright.

I got my medication at 1 o clock, I’m supposed to take it at 8 o clock. I’ve got [chronic, painful medical condition]. I had to argue for it. It’s pitch dark – when they gave it to me they had to record it on a laptop because no computers are working.

People came for a visit and they had to turn them away, they said there was no power.

16 hours it’s been. I’m dying for a tea or a coffee, my head’s hurting, I’m really stressed out. Most people’s phones are dead because they didn’t know the electric was going to go out. We don’t know what’s going to happen at 9.

People are testing positive every day. There are no masks, no sanitisers, no nothing.

From a person in detention since September 2021

I’ve been in detention for five months. They took me to Brook House first, and I was kept there for a month. They refused my request for release, saying that the Home Office was about to make a decision on my case, so there would be no point. From Brook House they took me to Colnbrook, where I was for another month. Then from Colnbrook they moved me to Harmondsworth, where I’ve been since.

I’ve been really struggling here, I’ve been in a really bad state. My mental health has got worse. I’m getting really bad headaches, bad nightmares, and my anxiety and depression have got worse. They treat us worse than animals. You have to share a room, there’s no privacy. There’s a toilet, a sink and a bunkbed. They lock us in the room from 9 at night until 8 in the morning, 11 hours. There’s no ventilation, no nothing. There’s a window, but it’s triple glazed, you can’t even… There’s no way of breathing. It’s just locked, a thick door. It’s like a proper jail. Some people here have been to jail before and they said it’s exactly the same. They even handcuff us when they take us to hospital for appointments. For two hours a day you can get access to computers to check emails. Everything else is banned – Facebook, YouTube, everything. You can only access your emails, just two hours a day. Also, you get cleaning jobs, laundry jobs – you can work in the kitchen for like three hours, or clean the floor for one or two hours, and they give you just two pounds for that.

There are so many people – about 60 in our wing. They’ve been sort of neglected. Officers here, they’re harsh. Three officers are okay, but most are really harsh, they really don’t care. You have to beg them for anything – seeing a doctor, getting clothing, anything. They just put things in computers, and say “we can’t do anything”. They force you to share your room, and if you say you don’t want to they threaten to put you in ‘the block’ – that’s a place where there’s nothing, no TV, nothing, and you spend a couple of days there.

People are being detained for like two years, three years. Some people want to go back to their countries, and they’re not sending them back. There’s an old guy from India, he’s over 60, and he’s been in detention for the last 11 months. He wants to go back to India because his wife is not well. They’re not sending him back. He’s in a really bad state. So many people are stuck here for months or years.

People are testing positive every day. There are no masks, no sanitisers, no nothing. The sanitisers have been empty for months. There’s no PPE, no nothing. We feel vulnerable, especially those who are older and have other health issues. But they don’t care. I was watching BBC Parliament and there was a debate about detention centres. The lady said, “Oh we have weekly meetings with the detainees about outbreaks.” This is a lie. No meetings have been happening. And there’s nothing to sanitise with. We couldn’t have any visitors up till a few days ago, but then we all mix here. Then they do lockdowns – we had a 15-day lockdown last time, with no internet, stuck in the wings, the corridors. You couldn’t go anywhere else in the detention centre. Detainees were really depressed because we had nothing to do. And somebody like me with mental health issues, it’s really hard. I sit in my room and watch telly. In spite of this outbreak, they still bring loads of detainees every day, spreading the virus. No precautions or 2-metre distance, nothing.

They say they can’t keep people who suffered abuse, torture, any sort of sexual exploitation, and yet there’s loads of people who are victims of torture and abuse here. This is what I say to them – you’re doing the same to me. It’s abuse. You lock us up here for 11 hours a day for what? What are we going to do? You just feel so lethargic. A person with bad mental health gets worse every day here. Recently, some people have been self-harming here. There was an ambulance here the other day. But they are trying to keep it quiet.

I’ve been helping people here, because most of them can’t speak English, I’m filling their forms, speaking to officials for them. I wrote to my MP, I’ve written to the Indian High Commissioner – I’ve been raising my voice, but I’ve been threatened. They say I’m raising my voice too much, that I’ve been asking too many questions. I’ve just been saying the truth. I’ve worked hard for my life here in the UK. I need to get my rights, get my life back.

My dream is to put my head on the pillow to sleep without thinking that tomorrow I might be forced on the streets

A Syrian asylum seeker at Brook House speaks about his experience coming to the UK 

I am of Syrian nationality, our country has been in an ongoing war for 10 years, I am 24 years old now, so when the war started I was 14 years old. I have not lived my childhood, during the period when children should be playing, my friends and I would be running because of the sounds of war.  

The war was ongoing for 5 years in the area I am from. I was also detained and tortured because of a Facebook post. The sounds I heard while in prison where even harder than the physical torture I received. After that, I had to leave Syria in 2017. And then when we left, the abuse, torture and mistreatment continued on the way.  

In Libya, some were captured and were blackmailed for money and possessions. Some were beaten up and enslaved. I gave them what they wanted because I did not want to be tortured again, I escaped from torture so I did not want this to happen again and anyway I only had little money on me. We faced one bandit after the other wherever we went, from Libya to Algeria to Morrocco. We walked in the desert, and sometimes there was no food and no water. We stayed in Libya for 15 days, then 1 week in Algeria, then 3 weeks in Morrocco. After that we tried to reach Melilla Spain. We tried to cross multiple times, but some would get beaten up, we were not treated like human beings. My friend tried to jump over the fence to get there, but he fell and broke his back so he had to stay in Morrocco. He couldn’t get treatment there because he didn’t have the right, and he couldn’t continue on his way.  

When we got to Melilla, we saw huge numbers of people from everywhere, all being kept in tents in the  detention camp. Each tent had around 300-400 people. When it was time to get food, the queue for food was for around 1-2 hours because of the huge numbers. Because of bandits, it was difficult to cross back to Algeria or to mainland Europe. A friend of mine got stabbed by them, another got beaten up and his arm got broken by them. It was hard to believe that what we saw in Mallela is happening in Europe. We were told that the only way we could leave is if we give our fingerprints, so that’s the only choice we had. From there we went to Dunkirk, where I stayed for 5 months. In the last 3 months, there were no NGOs and no help there, either because of COVID-19 or because the officials didn’t want anyone to help us. We used to go looking for firewood to cook our food.  

We used to walk for very long hours to attempt crossing to the UK. But multiple times we failed to cross, either because the police would catch us or because we would get stuck or lost in the water. Once the police took us to Lille to keep us away from the Jungle, and left us in the street; they even took our tents and food in Dunkirk. They were treating us as if we were an epidemic that they needed to get rid of. Because of this, we had to walk back to Dunkirk which took from 11 am until 5 am the next day 

We have no past, for 10 years of our lives we faced war, two sides were fighting, and we were in the middle. Always in the middle. Then we had to leave our homes. We are all running from destitution. We all have the same stories, 25 of us, so how come they are not believing us?  

People are struggling so much to get here. You do not suddenly wake up and decide to come here. It is not an easy task and we are paying a big price to get here. We lost everything, we are away from our families and we lost our homes. And on the way, we slept on the streets and in stations. We faced the waters, woods, deserts, and rain 

As soon as we got here, we felt so relieved. We thanked god. We didn’t have dreams before, our only dream was to arrive here. But when we got here, we finally felt like we had hope to start dreaming of other things. 

We had good days here but then one day I was awakened by 4 policemen who forced their way in and were standing over my head. I felt like I was back in Syria. They were acting as if I am a criminal. It’s as if they’re saying, good morning, we will now destroy your dreams. After 1 year of struggle and everything that we faced, they took me to Brook House and said that I was getting deported back to Spain. We were on the streets there, and now they want to send us back to the streets. Brook House is next to Gatwick Airport so we could hear the planes flying over us. In Syria, we were afraid of war planes, but now we are also afraid of passenger planes. We never know when it’s going to be our turn on one of those planes.  

Can you believe that our only hope is to live in safety with our families? This is my only dream. My dream is to put my head on the pillow to sleep without thinking that tomorrow I might be forced on the streets. For now, the flight to Spain got cancelled, but we don’t know what the future holds. I am living for the hope.  



I am still scared because I don’t know what is going to happen next

From someone due to be deported to Spain on 17th September

When we first came via the channel they took us to a hotel. We were in the hotel for about a month and they said we had to sign papers. While we were in the hotel and still signing the papers, that’s when they came and got us.

On the 22nd of August, that’s when they brought me to Brook House. On the 14th of September I tried to commit suicide before my ticket. They didn’t take me to the hospital, they just kept me at Brook House and gave me medicine. I spoke to my lawyer but I didn’t tell her that I tried to commit suicide. Because at that point she told me that the ticket had been cancelled. She said yesterday that she was going to call me to talk about my case but she still hasn’t called me.

How do you feel about the cancellation of the flight?

I am still scared because I don’t know what is going to happen next. Others have been released and I have not been given an address so I am still scared. I have an address to go to but I just need to be released.

What are conditions like in Brook House now?

It’s a mix, some people are getting released and some people are waiting to hear.

I just want to get out. I have a lot of anxiety and mental health issues.

My journey as a refugee from the war in Yemen till now – there’s always imprisonment and detention waiting for me.

A Yemini asylum seekers tells us his experiences of coming to the UK and his fears about his removal on the 17th September

My brothers and I arrived in the UK on June 24. This was our third attempt. On the first attempt, the engine stopped, and the second time, the boat started sinking. My younger brother can’t swim so he started drowning, but thank God I was able to help him and we came back. 

As we were close to arriving, we saw that the fuel on the boat was running out. We signalled to a ship to help us. It came close and we saw it was a French war ship. We panicked. We had been there for 6-7 hours already in the boat. We weren’t at all comfortable, and we were terrified – we felt we would drown. The French ship came close and asked if we needed help. We said no we don’t need anything. We preferred to stay in the sea for hours than to go back to France. 

They started laughing at us. We were terrified. After 30 mins we saw a British boat – when we saw the British flag we felt – I can’t explain it – we felt like the efforts had all paid off, we were overjoyed. We were in British waters. We finally arrived at a place called Dover. 

We were exhausted, we’d been travelling at sea from 4pm to 7-8am the next morning. But when we arrived, they didn’t let us rest; they photographed us, searched us, asked us lots of questions, where we’re from, how old we are, etc. But there were no translators, so I tried to translate because I know a little English. Then they put us in a bus and took us to a police station. The police were very serious, they didn’t smile or anything; the joy that was in our hearts from arriving there meant we didn’t care about their treatment. They weren’t happy at all. Even the doctors in Dover weren’t happy. Maybe because lots of boats arrived that day. When I arrived, I had seen my friends from Calais that had also arrived. We saw the police’s faces – they weren’t happy at all that we had arrived.

We had to stay in the police station for many hours – I can’t remember how many. Maybe 5 hours or more. There were more proceedings to be carried out – apparently the questions they asked in Dover weren’t enough. We waited some more before they put us back on the bus. They told us we were near London. We went to a detention centre. It was made up of rooms, each with a toilet. It was like a prison. 

I was there for 4-5 days. They gave us clothes, because our own clothes were full of sea water. We were happy even though we were in prison, because we were with our friends and we had arrived in the UK. Each day we were happier. After 4 days they did another interview with us. Why did you come to the UK? We said we want to claim asylum. They asked more and more questions.

The guards were very angry. I would ask for something, like I wanted a remote. They would say ‘Do you think you’re in a five star hotel? You’re in prison’. They were harsh with us. We asked for a cup to drink from, anything, even a plastic one. They gave us a disposable plastic one which we threw away after using. The next day they said ‘Where is your cup? You already had one’. No-one spoke Arabic. Many of us don’t speak English. Rather than trying to understand, they would shout at us. They were harsh with us, but we had to put up with it. We had to be quiet and take it – we’re refugees. 

Then they moved us to the hotels. It’s called Holiday Inn, and it was 5 stars. Of course, imagine, guys coming from the forest in Calais, where it’s freezing cold and you’re sleeping on the ground and facing racism from the French police and even from other refugees. Imagine going from that to a 5 star place, it was like heaven to us – there was a bath. To wash in Calais there was always an enormous queue. We would wait for hours just to wash for 5 minutes. They would say: ‘Here’s the water, go go go,’ and we would have to rush to wash. So when we were in this hotel and saw a proper bath we couldn’t believe it. We also had no opportunity to wash our clothes in Calais but here we could. We had what we needed, except for money. Food and drink was provided at the hotel. We were there for a month. They said it was because they had to check about coronavirus and that we would stay for 15 days, but it ended up being longer. 

After one month, we began communicating with an organisation which could help with residence and food. We were talking to them daily to ensure we could live together, me and my brothers. My father was already in the UK, and we wanted to see him and go and live with him. 

We were moved into a house after one month in the hotel, and our father was moved into the same house. When we saw our father, we were so happy. My mother, who is not in the UK, was also delighted that we were together again. But we were only together for one or two weeks. Every day was joy. We cooked, laughed together, like any family. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner together, we went out together and did everything together. We went looking to see if we could study. We had ambitions. 

All this time we were hearing about people being detained. We were terrified that it would be our turn next. After all this exhaustion and everything that had happened, and then the joy of seeing our father, it would be so hard to be taken away. 

It was a Friday, we were at home, and I was studying English. We had planned to go out that day to sort out some insurance papers. The house was nice; it had bedrooms, a bathroom and even a garden where we could plant things. We were thinking of planting onions and tomatoes. 

Around 5 or 6pm, I heard sounds on the stairs. I heard more than ten people. They were really loud on the stairs. I didn’t expect there would be 10 police or people from immigration coming to get us. I thought we might get a letter from the Home Office or something. There were 10 or maybe more people. Straight away, when we opened the door one of them started shouting at us. I was really scared. They pushed themselves in. Said empty your pockets. I felt hopeless. They said you are going to be deported to Spain. 

They didn’t let us say goodbye to our father. They took us away, all three of us. We said to him, inshallah we will see you soon, and then we left. I had hoped the neighbours would come out and help us, and stop them taking us away. They tried to put each one of us in a vehicle, but in the end put me and my older brother in one bus, and my younger brother in a second bus. They took us to a police station. It was terrifying. There was an iron bed with a really thin mattress, we felt the iron more than the sponge of the mattress. After 5 or 6 hours they took me away by myself, and I asked where my brothers were. They said something about the coronavirus. They took us to Brook House – my brothers were together but I wasn’t with them. 

As soon as I arrived, I met people from Syria and Yemen, and I knew many of them from Calais. We greeted each other, saying we hope we all get out soon. But I still couldn’t see my brothers. I didn’t see them for five days. I kept looking for them and asking them where they were. I told them I would hurt myself if I didn’t see them. Finally, five days later I saw them. 

We tried to refuse eating, to show them that we were protesting what was happening. They treated us like criminals. We went on a hunger strike for 4 days. At first the Serco employees encouraged us nicely to eat, but then they changed their attitude and started saying ‘You will be deported in any case, the Home Office won’t change their minds, so what are you doing?’ After 4 days, they wore us down, a few of the guys started eating so we decided to eat too. Luckily there was an organisation which put us in touch with good lawyers. My lawyer would call me almost every day and follow up with my case, and she told me that I had a strong case and that I should be patient. She also referred us to a good psychiatrist who followed up with us. She helped us on lots of different levels. We owe her a lot.

The problem we are in now is one of life and death. Our first deportation ticket was Sep 3, for me and other guys from Syria and Yemen. Thank God, my ticket was cancelled. But sadly about 10 or 11 people from Syria were deported to Spain. The way they were deported was as if they were criminals. 3 people from Serco would go to the room to take just one person. Overall there were about 25-30 people from Serco there on Sep 3 to remove the group to the flight. They were giving us awful looks and didn’t say anything nice to us. We tried to say hello to them and they said nothing, they didn’t smile, nothing. 

The treatment was terrible, some of the Syrians would say things like ‘even in Syria it wasn’t like this’. 

I was terrified after I saw this on Sep 3. I went back to my room, but heard their shouts from my room. The shouts of the detainees, and the shouts of the police. I was terrified. I felt like I was hearing executions and waiting for my own. I saw them being dragged away, handcuffed. 

I went on another hunger strike for 5 days, because we heard that those in Spain were abandoned on the street, and I felt like my turn was next. The Serco guys would come every day and say ‘You’re about to be deported, why are you striking?’ 

After 5 days I started eating again. The lawyer was encouraging me and telling me that my case was strong. She said that if it goes to court, there should even be compensation because of the way they took me. But despite that, I felt despair, and for the first time ever I thought of suicide. I was homeless in the Netherlands and in Spain, but the first time I thought of suicide was in the detention centre. Thinking of the three huge guards in black who would come to my room and take me by force. I had nightmares about it. I was angry. I’m not an angry guy but I was so angry. I felt hopeless. 

They put me on the red list, which means people who are a suicide risk. They came every day to check my room. I tried to move away from those thoughts. Slowly my mental health got a bit better. But today is the 15th and I have a deportation order for 17th. So the thoughts of suicide are getting stronger. I am trying to stay with the guys here to stop thinking about it. Every day the fear is getting worse. 

After everything that has happened, I have no more faith in the security services, in the Home Office, anything. After the raids and everything. The house with my father is the only place I feel safe. This is the life of the refugee and the migrant. My journey as a refugee from the war in Yemen till now – there’s always imprisonment and detention waiting for me.

Detainee speaks on friends’ deportations: To the people who talk about human rights… come and see how they are treating us

A man fleeing violence in Syria calls us from Brook House IRC, a detention centre near Gatwick, London, He calls in the aftermath of the deportations of some of his Syrian friends today, his own deportation scheduled for the 17th September.

Normally they close the doors on us at 9pm, and they usually have about three guards on each floor. This time they had ten, so we knew something was happening. They took people downstairs, one by one, so we knew they were transporting them to the airport. 

There was someone who tried to hang himself with the TV cord. They came and cut the cord. They took him to the hospital, but then deported him anyway.

After my friends were deported, we could hear the very same guards  laughing and drinking all night till 4 am. As if they were celebrating the deportation. What is this racism? 

 I spoke to my friend today, who was deported. He is on the streets now. His brother passed away and his mother risked everything to get him here. There is nothing for him in Spain, you could say he might as well be in Syria. He doesn’t have his Syrian passport or his identity card. Nothing. No food. He is on the streets. There’s nothing.  

They deported them all without their passports, without their identity cards. They took them from us in Dover, and never gave it back to them. We’ve lost so much trying to get here. Our families have sold all their properties, and all that they have. They have nothing left. We are tired of this. It is too much. 

They are targeting people who crossed by water. They are trying to scare us.Where are the human rights that we hear about? There’s no human rights here. What have we done to deserve this treatment? 

Their lawyers were not responding to their calls. And before they were deported the lawyers’ lines said that their offices were closed. They did not help them. Even my lawyer charged me £1000 to take on my case, and another £600 to take my case to court. I asked the lawyer if there was hope with my case before he took it on, but all he wanted to do is speak about money from the start.

We have been  living with so much fear. Last night, everytime we heard a door open, we hid, thinking they were going to come for us. They had about 50 guards for 12 people. We are right next to the airport, and every time we hear a plane, it is a terrifying reminder for us. It would be almost  better if we had been deported together, so I wouldn’t be living in anticipation of my deportation, now for the 17th.

No one is telling us anything, no one is answering our questions. Are we just sheep to be told where to go and what to do? No one is informing us of what is happening. 

To the people who talk about human rights, come and see us, come and see how they are treating us. We Syrians do not want anything from you. We do not want housing or money. We just want to be released, we just want to live our lives. Why are others being released but not us Syrians?

The police hit me with a baton, on my legs, back and shoulder.

A Syrian refugee reports on his experience after being removed by charter flight to Spain on the 3rd September.

On the night of 2/9, officials came to the detention centre and told me I have a flight in a few hours. Police took me in a van to the immigration office, telling me they would let me talk when I got there. I told them I have applied for asylum in the UK. I don’t want to go to Spain. They put me in a van, and made me wait in the van until the morning. I didn’t leave the van for even one minute. 

They put us on the plane. There were four police around me. They held my wrists down so I couldn’t move. If i blinked they would consider it a sudden movement. They didn’t let me move at all. 

I asked for my passport and ID from the UK police. They told me that we would be given them when we arrived in Spain. We landed but we were not given our documents. I tried to go back to the UK police to get my passport, and a spanish police officer hit me hard on my shoulder and didn’t let me go back. 

They put us on a bus, took us to the airport, made us wait a little. Then they stamped our deportation paper and ejected us outside the airport. We were waiting about three hours. We had no money, no food or water. We were hungry. I went to the train station. I passed the barrier, with two others. The police caught us, beat me and broke my phone. The police hit me with a baton, on my legs, back and shoulder. I was detained for about an hour in the train station. They didn’t ask me anything about my situation. He just said you have no rights here. You have nothing here, you can’t come into the station, you have no passport or ID. They let us go about an hour later, and as I was taken outside the police officer hit me again, this time kicking me in the back. He said you have to leave Spain. I have no passport. We couldn’t find the rest of the group, and it took us about 2.5 hours to find them. 

We found them outside the airport, and there were more police there. They treated us badly. They didn’t let us sit anywhere. They kept telling us we had to leave Spain. 

We slept in the street that night, on the concrete. We felt scared. No cover, cars coming and going. There were drunk people in the street, and we were scared they’d attack us. There were cars which stopped and took pictures of us, laughing and mocking us. We didn’t sleep one bit. It felt like two nights, not one. 

In the UK we felt like humans for 3 months. Here we were treated inhumanely. People all night looking at us. It felt awful. We started crying. It was cold. My body hurt. I was hit by the police and then had to sleep on the street. I still haven’t slept. We have suffered a lot. Since I’ve left the UK I’ve been hit twice, once in the airport and once in the station. I have relatives in the UK, I have no-one here. My father died on 6/8, can you imagine, and then this happened. 

There’s a huge difference between Spain and the UK. The police, the people, we are not treated like humans here. We have no passport, we can’t walk about freely. We have nothing to prove our identity. I want to go back to the UK. I can’t even talk to my family, the police broke my phone and I don’t have their numbers. They don’t know where I am. How am I supposed to contact them?

We stayed outside the airport till the evening. No food, no water, nothing.

A Syrian national speaks after his Dublin deportation to Madrid by Charter Flight on 3rd September.

I was in a detention centre in the UK from 18/8. They gave me an appointment with a lawyer after 8 days, on the 26/8.

The lawyer asked me two questions. Why did I leave Syria? And why I didn’t want to go to spain. They did not ask many details. Of course I wanted to leave Syria, I could not stay. My friends were killed there. I am wanted for conscription to the army. I did not give my fingerprint in Spain, I refused to give fingerprints for asylum. I told this to the lawyer. 

I had travelled through Spain on my way to the UK. When I was there, I was in the street for 15 days in spain. The police made me give my fingerprint. I explained all this to the lawyer in the UK. And the lawyer said i shouldn’t worry.

He said I won’t be deported, he reassured me. Because I had a ticket to Spain for 3/9, but the lawyer told me I wouldn’t travel.

I was a victim of the lawyer.

He didn’t do anything for me. He didn’t change anything regarding my ticket

Our deportation date was on 3/9. The night before, they came and told me that I was travelling. I told them that I had a case to stay. 

They told me i had to leave. I didn’t want to leave. I have family here. I have an Aunt in the UK, my brother in law, cousins and friends. I know no one in spain. I will return to the streets there. 

At 2am on the 3/9, the officials came and told me I had to go to the immigration office. I told them I had a lawyer, they told me that I could talk about it at the immigration office. They told me I had time to tell them everything. I was surprised. I left without my stuff. There were a lot of security guards. They told me I had to get in the van. I told them I don’t want to go to Spain. I want to talk to a lawyer so i don’t get deported. They asked me if I was refusing to go and I said yes, I refuse. But they put handcuffs and a seat belt. When i left the prison there were 5 police officers making sure i stayed where i was and I didn’t talk to anyone. They handcuffed me and stayed with me in the van. 

We stayed in the van, and came to the immigration office. I told them I want to speak to a lawyer. I said, this is unjust, I want to talk to someone. They told me it’s done, you are leaving. I wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone. I tried to call the lawyer and he wasn’t answering.I sent him a voice message. He didn’t reply.

I stayed in the van, even at the immigration office. They told me I would have time to talk at the office but no one gave me time. They didn’t let me get out of the van. The same van took me to the plane. I was in the van between 2 and 7am. I didn’t get out even once until I went on the plane. I was scared. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t move even a tiny bit. I was scared. It was not just. I don’t speak English, no-one spoke Arabic. I didn’t know what would happen to me. No-one could help me. 

There were planes at the immigration office – there were not a lot of planes there, it wasn’t a normal airport.It looked like a cargo airport. With police to your right, to your left, above you and below you. There was nothing there but police. 

They took me to the plane. I told them that I didn’t want to get on the plane. I told them that I refused. There were five officers guarding me and I couldn’t do anything. They put me on the plane. We cried, we tried to tell them. I have family, I am the victim of my lawyer. I talked and poured my heart out. But that was it, we were on the plane. Someone on my left and someone on my right and someone in front. I was handcuffed, I couldn’t move. 

We were 11 people. All taken from the detention centre, Brook House. But we didn’t come in the same van. Each person was in a different van. The same police who were in the van were in the plane were in the place with us. There were a lot of security. I was surrounded by police. Everyone who was deported had about 3 people with them and we were handcuffed. We told them we are not criminals for you to treat us like this. We are not terrorists. We told them if we didn’t like this country and have relatives here we wouldn’t have come. No-one listened or helped us with anything. 

The UK authorities told us the spanish authorities will sort our stuff out for us in spain. They said they would treat us well. We arrived around 10am. There were 3 spanish police there, they put us in a bus, took us to the airport. We were in a hall in the airport, waited about 15 minutes. They took the deportation papers that we had with us and stamped them and returned them. One of us spoke some english and helped us translate. They stamped the papers and sent us outside. Noone asked us or told us anything. 

We stayed outside the airport till the evening. No food, no water, nothing. The videos speak for themselves, you don’t have to explain anything. Didn’t you see the videos? We were in the street. We’re still in the street into the evening. Nothing changed. How can a human person stay 12, 24 hours in the street with nothing, no food no water. There’s no humanity in that. 

One of us is 17. He is a child. 

When we left the airport we were about 3 hours without knowing anything. We walked about, hoping to get on a train to the centre, to find a place to stay. Three of the group passed the barriers, the police came and took them. They beat them, and broke one of their phones. We left the train station and went back to where we had been at first.

We didn’t all sleep in the same place. I was with four people. We didn’t have beds/mattresses. Some of the others slept in the street. It was an abandoned house. No furniture, nothing. 5 slept in this abandoned house, 6 in the street. Some people passed by those in the street and laughed and took pictures. They were making fun of us, mocking us. If we had died in our country it would have been more dignified. 

They will sleep rough, there is no support, they are homeless.

From a person in Brook House IRC:

They deal with us well here, but detention is bad.

When you put an asylum seeker in prison its difficult.

We are on hunger strike, because we need to know why they deported our friends today. 12 people, now they are homeless.

We feel sorry about our friends who were detained and taken to Spain, we received a call from them, they say that the government doesn’t give them accommodation or support, they will sleep in the street. They will sleep rough, there is no support, they are homeless.

That happened today, and because of that we are on food strike. Thirty people.

Maybe half us have been on food strike already for 15 days – they have lost more than 10 kilos of weight.

We will be on strike until we are released, because we are not criminals, we are not dangerous.

We are just asylum seekers.

They put us in a room, they close the door from 9pm till 9am, inside the room. 7 people tried to commit suicide during the past month. So when we hear that about our friends, committing suicide and being deported to live on the streets, its bad news, we are frustrated, we can’t sleep.

So maybe 80% of us have psychological problems – lack of sleep, no appetite.

Some of them said that ‘had we known that we’d be put in prison we’d prefer to die in our country than to claim asylum’.

There is no dignity here for a human.

We will be patient until we see what will happen. Everyone waits for his destiny. We don’t know if they will deport us or release us, we don’t know. And deporting is not an easy decision to take, it changes a life. It changes life. It takes way dignity. Someone lives in peace, and they make them homeless. I’s too much to handle. Can you imagine that, 12 people who were sent today to Spain, they beg just for a blanket to sleep, and no-one gives it them.

I ask my friends every day in the morning: ‘is it to reach this life that I jeopardised my soul and my money, coming by the sea?’ – it was so dangerous for everyone to reach here. We already faced such a bad and harsh life in our country, so to face it more here is something difficult.

That’s our story.