Lillija: This Saturday there is going to be a protest

A woman who had a ticket and everyone came into my room and I passed my keys to my friend because I needed to go to a legal visit. But the legal visit was cancelled. And so I went back to my room with Anna. We went back to my room and there was about 20 residents and the girl who had a ticket to Kenya. The manager came and told me and Anna “you two, you need to go out of the room”. I said “why aren’t you telling everyone else to go out of my room, It’s my room”. And she said “it’s not your room it’s our room”. And she said to Lucy that she needed to go to reception because she had a flight.

The manager went out, and all the girls were talking and saying we need to help her because we felt sorry for her and that she was going to be killed if taken back. We prayed together. She took her clothes off and got into bed behind us. The manager started threatening us saying “it’s not going to help for your case and your bail application”. They were only saying it to me and Anna. I say “we are not going out of the room!” and she said ‘thank you very much girls’.

And then she opened the door, saying “I’ll give you a last warning”. There were about 20 girls before but some were scared and left but 9 girls stayed in the room. We were only sitting in the bed and praying and singing songs from Church.

And then Officers started running in. We thought it was riot police. They started shouting hands up hands up. We get scared because they were very loud. And one officer started beating us with his shield edge and we recognised him shouting and said “Joe! Its you!” Other officer told him that you can’t do that, you need to push with the shield. I thought that he can kill us because with that edge. You can beat the head or the neck and by accident they can kill us. We put up our legs and he punched the under knee. Anna got bruises over her legs. Other officers only pushed with the shield not beating.

Other officers with normal clothes came and took us and the manager told other officers to restrain Anna. Anna said she has very big pain in her leg and she can’t walk. And the manager said “why are you pretending you can’t walk”. They put 7 of us in segregation. And when we were there they brought healthcare there and took photos of us.

They said I could go to hospital but I was scared to go because they said we would be moved to prison after.

5 girls were moved back to the unit the next day. Me and Anna remained in segregation.

A manager came down to segregation to say that we were going to be moved to prison. We were in segregation from the 9th April till the 23rd. two weeks we were there. It’s really cold down there and there are two many ants. We asked why they were only holding me and Anna and not others but they didn’t give reason. They said that they weren’t going to charge us but just to move to prison under immigration powers.

Anna got moved to Holloway prison and they wanted to move me to Wakefield prison. I had my bail hearing. The officers were telling me that I wouldn’t get bail and that I would have to apply from prison again. I tried and thank god I was released.

That Joe officer, that wasn’t the first time he made bruises on me. About 4 or 5 months ago they came in and did a room search on me. One of the officers started asking me loads of question and I got angry saying I did not want to answer the questions, your job is to do room search. I wanted to leave while the room search happened. I know that I can do that. And I left, and Joe grabbed me pushed me back in the room and held my arm up for about two or three minutes and I had big bruises after that. I showed the management and they made a photo and he was suspended for four months. And when he came back and said to me in the hall ‘thank you for a good holiday’.

Another girl’s room was going to be searched. The resident said she was getting dressed, without a bra. Joe wouldn’t leave the room. They called the manager. I think it’s unfair that Joe is working.

I hear he was suspended again.

Today there was a protest outside Holloway by Movement for Justice and Black Women Against Rape. They were protesting about Anna. I couldn’t go to the protest because I am in Yorkshire and I couldn’t get money to travel to London. I have no job and I have three children.

I think it is really good idea to protest for us. This organisation sees how immigration detention is so wrong. And how Anna is being punished and I think it’s not very good. There were many of us and Anna is in prison.

This Saturday there is going to be a protest outside of Yarl’s Wood. And I’ll be there as well.

Two days ago, I needed some hot water

Two days ago, I needed some hot water eight minutes before bang up time. I tried to get water for my flask. The officer took my flask and pushed me back. I said I know its late but I just need water. I apologised. He punched me in the heart and he closed the door and went. Then the security people came with cctv and ask what happened. I have a mark on my chest and my room mate was a witness. He wrote down a police case and I waited until 12 o’clock and I went to the nurse and I still had pain. The doctor did a check. The have a report in my file. I haven’t seen the officer since that. Nothing has happened since. I asked them yesterday what is going to happened and they said they are going to come and see you.

I am in the red book because I tried suicide two time and I had torture in Sri Lanka and they come and check me every hour in the night. I can’t go back to my country.

There was a fire in D wing

There was a fire in D wing of Harmondsworth Centre on the first floor at 1 o’clock last night. The fire alarm went off and we waited for about 10 minutes because there are checks all the time. The officers came and said Ouside go outside.  After that we all went outside around 150 people. There was one person injured and is in health care now.

It’s not safe in here because there is only one exit. There are no windows or other doors so everyone was going through same door. Some were going fast and some were going slowly.

We waited outside for two hours and then went to the dining hall and then we went back inside the centre to our rooms. One room was badly damaged but the whole building smelled of smoke.

Suddenly I saw everybody came outside and a fire alarm came up

I’m in the wing opposite. Suddenly I saw everybody came outside and a fire alarm came up after midnight last night. Everyone came outside and one guy was lying on a wooden chair. He was with two people, I think his friends. There were more than a hundred people in the yard. A bit later the officers came to give oxygen to the guy. After about two or three hours time an Ambulance came and after finally he was able to stand up. And he left with the ambulance people with the green colour uniform. After three hours time they managed to put everyone in their rooms. Only the next morning I knew it was a fire.

There was a fire in a room in Harmondsworth

There was a fire in a room in Harmondsworth about 12.45 last night. It was very dangerous. There is a guy in hospital.

The ground floor was full of smoke. It was dark smoke. We went outside to courtyard 4 and then to the main dining hall. All the people in D wing had to get out. After a couple of hours they went back to their rooms one by one. At 4o’clock in the morning floor 1 went back. Some people were taken to a different place without their stuff because there was too much water in their rooms. When we came back to our rooms the smell of smoke was full.

In the morning they brought us back to the room. There was lots of water. And the main manager of Harmondsworth came from his house. He said it was an accident. He did his job, I appreciate him. Immigration does very wrong with us but on the spot he did alright.

In the room where it started, there was a guy in the room who had told immigration, if you don’t have my travel documents release me or send me back. He’s been here 3 months. He was alone in the room, he has two other room mates but he was alone.

It’s very hard because the windows don’t open so if there is a fire and someone is in their room then they will die. There is no window. My friend was coughing.

Let’s see, when they investigate it.

We were shouting with the people outside

People are protesting outside for us. They know about the inside conditions – that people are not criminals. Everyone is here is according to law and the judge and the immigration officers are making conspiracy. And most people they are refusing. You don’t exist from here. Twitter, youtube, most of the sites are blocked from here.

We want to respond to the protest. We want to join the protests. So people were outside for 15 minutes in the yard. We were shouting with the people outside. We were clapping and shouting “freedom, freedom”. And then the officers come and say they have to come inside otherwise the big security officers would come to force us. So everyone moved inside.

The officers find everyone who is shouting and active inside. They take them one by one and pressing them. And tell them if you do this your case will be damaged. So be quiet, be relaxed. So they are individually pressing people. If they come to a group they shout but they speak individually. So nobody can speak loud. Because everyone wants to speak.

The legal aid solicitors are not doing well. I’ve been trying to call my solicitor for nearly 25 days and I haven’t been able to speak to her. She has been paid by the government to fight my case but she hasn’t done anything for me. She just makes paper work and finishes. It’s not fair, inside immigration can do anything in that time. It’s not fair because we are in a prison. She has to come to us and listen to us.

they came back wearing helmets and shields

There is one of the ladies that has a ticket and they wanted to take her to the airport yesterday from Yarl’s Wood. The day before they put a fresh claim and she got a lawyer through helen bamber and that meant she could put in a judicial review to stop the flight. They came for her but she wasn’t in her room, she was in another room and a lot of girls were there. There were about 8 of them. They were trying to protect her there because they wanted to take her by force. The officers went and reinforced themselves and they came back wearing helmets and shields. They tied them up with handcuffs and took them to kingfisher [segregation unit]. About three officers per one detainee. They shut all the doors so that no one could see them. They lady was taken to the airport but the ticket was cancelled on the way so they brought her back and put her in Kingfisher as well. She says that they twisted her head and that she has never experienced anything like that in her whole life, it was so traumatising. The officers packed all their stuff and when I spoke to them they said they were being taken to prison. So at the moment we don’t know what’s happened.

charter flight leaving tonight

All those who made the hunger strike in Harmondsworth centre have been given them tickets to Pakistan. There is a charter flight leaving tonight with around 70 people on it going tonight. They don’t want to go back. Some people have gun shot injuries from attacks by the Taliban but they are being deported. They’ve divided them between all the blocks with ten in each so they can’t protest. There is nothing we can do now.

Many people like parliamentarians came here and ask us what is happened, what it is like but they don’t do anything. They ask how’s your healthcare, food and things. But they don’t do anything.

They beat him up

I can only speak on my behalf. I can only talk about me personally. So if you want to know about others that’s fine as well but.

Personally, I came to this country young as a refugee by myself. I was helped by the United Nations from Somalia. My flight left Ethiopia to Paris in 1996 and when I got to Paris airport I was transferred to another flight bound for London. I was told what to do, as soon as you get to the airport say you are from Somalia and to claim as a refugee straight away – which is what I did. I was taken in by Social Services, I was taken to a B+B for a couple of weeks. And ever since then I have been in this country legally. I did not understand the law and how immigration works. I didn’t know what I needed to do to obtain passports or travel documents or anything like that.

Since 1996 till now, the Home Office have never provided me with identification whatsoever. Even though they said I could claim benefits or I could work you know. But I didn’t have an identification to prove who I was so I was struggling. I was homeless on the streets you know. There are a lot of homeless agencies that have helped me over the years. They’ve got my name on the records so you can check I’m on there to confirm, they have my name on their files I’m sure.

Over the years I’ve been arrested for petty crimes like shop lifting. The stuff I was stealing was mainly food, I wasn’t stealing alcohol or I wasn’t robbing people on the street or burgling people’s houses. I was just trying to survive and the best thing I could do was go to a supermarket and nicking a sandwich or something like that. You can check my criminal record, it’s all there.

The first time I was detained was in 2010. I was here when the gentlemen was killed, [Mubenga]. I’ve been detained, in and out in and out. But whether I’m in there or out my life has never been there because of the simple thing as an identification that I have never have ID. I would be put outside and after a couple of months they would nick me again and say that I was illegal in this country and what not.

Before I could get a solicitor to help me, these days I can’t get a solicitor and that’s why I’m still in this predicament right now.

I was here when there was the guy who was killed in 2010. I believe he was from Angola. I was talking to him the way I am talking to you. Like I knew the guy. They put him on the plane, he struggled with them and he ended up choking to death you know.

Since I came here to Brook House, I was in another detention centre for 10 months and I didn’t hear anything from the home office in all that time until I got into trouble with the officers and they shipped me off here.

Since I’ve been here I’ve witnessed people trying to kill themselves, jumping on the wire meshes.

I’ve witnessed people cutting themselves. I am one of those people, I’ve got scars all over my body. Just to try and get some help. I’ve got a lot of mental problems at the moment. You know strees, depression, anxiety, paranoia. I’ve been trying to get some medical help if I could but I can’t seem to get any medical help in here. I can’t seem to see a doctor in here.

I’ve tried to fax the paper to the court but the courts are demanding £140 from me that I don’t have in order to see my case. I don’t know what to do at the moment. I am very desperate. I don’t know what to do, I’m in a cell by myself everyday being harassed to sign a piece of paper to go back to my country. And going back there to me is a death sentence. I’m cooperating with them as much as I can but I don’t know how anyone can cooperate to be returned to somewhere where they are going to be killed basically, so I don’t know what I can do.

I’m very sure that a judge would release me and this is the problem that I’ve been having but I can’t get any legal advice whatsoever.

As far as the things, I have witnessed in here – there is a guy in here and he’s the reason I am calling you.

They are trying to take him back to Tunisia and he’s from Greece, he’s lived there for 21 years. He has documentation to that effect. He did not want to go back to Tunisia. He is not violent, he cannot even speak English that guy. There is no words that he can say to them you know.

They beat him up, they broke his fingers. There are scars all over his hands like coming from the handcuffs. They pulled his fingers out of the sockets, they didn’t break the fingers but they pulled like three for fingers out of his sockets you know what I mean. After, his joints were very painful. All his fingers are swollen. His leg, he can’t walk properly.

At the moment, I’ll be honest with you . I believe that technically I don’t exist. The Home Office or the agencies that work for them, they could do anything to me you know, move me some where, bury me if they want to because who is there to know otherwise. There is no one ringing to check up on me, there is no solicitor to check up on me. I don’t feel safe to be in the hands of the state at the moment.

I’ve been in this country long enough to know that there are good British people out there. No one can convince me otherwise. But as far as the government is concerned I would not trust them. I’m really really paranoid, even this time I’m talking to you I believe that I’m being listened to but what choice have I got.

On Wednesday I’ve got an interview with them and this has been made to look like an interview but I believe I’m going to be removed from this detention centre but God knows where I’ll be taken. And I just need someone or anybody to keep in touch with me just to make sure they know that I’m safe because I don’t know what I’m facing at the moment. You know the world is a very dangerous place at the moment.

Publicity is the only weapon that I have at the moment. That we have at the moment. Not only I, there are a lot of us here.

Basically they tried to deport him to Tunisia. He’s lived in Greece for 21 years, he’s got indefinite leave to remain in Greece. Came over from Greece to here. They wanted to deport him and he said fair enough you can deport me back to there by law you should be deported people back to the first country they claim asylum in. They refused to do that, they tried to deport him back to Tunisia, even though they have proof that the man actually lives in Greece.

So he refused to go and that’s when they grabbed him by the neck according to him. Twisted him up, broke his fingers, fucked up his leg. They brought him back the following morning, he came here. We took him to see the nurses and doctors. The doctor did not take any pictures of the incident. We called the police. Every time you call the police I believe they record it, so you can check to confirm this. The police refused to come and said they needed to speak to take it up with staff in here as soon as they heard we were calling from Brooke House. They said no we can’t come to Brooke House, if you have any problems take it up with the management.

Now I believe that if I commit an assault against anybody outside like that then that is GBH, and I would be arrested and pending trial I would go to prison for that kind of crime. Why should that be done to anybody and you can’t call the police, they don’t want to know? That makes us feel like we are less human that others.

The officers, they came up stairs and they told us you called the police and said no problem they accept it and straight away they gave me this notice for an appointment with the removal people on Wednesday. Now I’ve never been issued with any removal notice and no flight ticket so why am I having a meeting even though my case is still going. So because we called the police we are getting threats because of that.

We took him to the doctors. We saw how they treated him so we had to take action into our own hands.

Yes I can say that, as a result of that, I believe my life is in danger. You know I don’t mind, if its for the right reasons I will die happily no problem. The truth is the truth you know, at the end of the day you don’t need to advertise the truth. The truth will stand up to itself.

I have a problem accessing mental health in here. Every time you want to see a doctor you see a nurse. They make sure you don’t see a doctor they just give you paracetamol and that’s it. I’ve got cuts all over my body, I’ve got cuts all over my back. I have got so many injuries. I self harm at the moment, you know I’m not proud to say that. But I’m really you know, I’m desperate.

I’ve never been violent against anybody or any staff member. People have been made in charge by the home office. They are in charge of my life and they make lies about me. I have no way of defending myself.

I believe I had more rights when I was in prison in an A cat prison and in a B cat prison than in a detention centre. You have something called adjudication where you’d say your side of the story and the officer involved would say their side of the story. Then the governer would make a decision after that. So you do get a fair process that you don’t have here.

They say you have the internet here, they have computer screens but basically you can’t access anything. It’s blocked. You can’t access anything because it’s blocked.

You can’t get no reception in the building. When people outside they call but all the time they can’t get hold of me you know. This phone is different with a Lyca chip that’s we I think haven’t got reception.


The government should open their eyes

I’ve been in the UK since 2011. It wasn’t specified why they got interested in my immigration case in 2014. In February at night 7 officers came to my house and hand cuffed me in front of my kids. I work for a big UK company. In the eyes of my neighbours they must think I’m a big criminal. I was never running away I was just living here. They said I need to be taken away – they gave no paper work to my partner. From then I’ve been held here, my solicitor said illegally. The judge in Newport gave me bail 12 days ago and the Home Office refused to release me. They say that I can abscond and will commit a crime – I don’t have a criminal record in the UK. I was working legally and paying taxes and everything. I put a judicial review to stop the deportation order but they were still trying to take me to the airport. The high court said to cancel the deportation order and immediately release. I’m going to High court again soon to see why they haven’t released me.

It’s terrible in here. I’m paying my taxes and my taxes are paying for this place. The food is disgusting, my dog wouldn’t eat that. The officers won’t listen to you. If you don’t sign something they want you to sign they will say you are not cooperating but of course I’m not going to sign a deportation order when I have a legal case going on. The people who work here are still prison officers. It feels like a prison – it’s literally like a prison. You are not allowed many things.

The government should open their eyes to what they do to families in this country. If family life is involved, where kids are involved they should take a concern that they are destroying our family life. But they are saying we can keep our relationship via skype. How you want to keep it going across 1,500 miles away. We can’t even live together. I have nothing in Poland anymore, everything is here, my partner, my kids, my house.

The home office try to destroy you mentally. They are just waiting for you to do something wrong so they can punish you. You literally have this feeling that they are pushing you to destroy your mental health. I think the government should open their eyes to see what the home office is doing.