Before I was helpless but then I was powerful

I’ve been detained in Yarl’s Wood for 15 plus months. I’m a vulnerable adult. I have serious health issues and I’m a victim of torture. I have an up coming important appointment with Helen Bamber Foundation and Bedford Hospital.  I have a six year old daughter in London who stays with her father.

But still the home Office decided to deport me and having no chance to put in my fresh claim. I had a ticket last Tuesday evening to Kenya and then to Namibia.  After lunch the officers came to me to take me to the reception. I didn’t want to go so before they came I was hiding in another girls’ room. They were looking for me. My friends would tell me on the phone where the officers were so I could run to a different place. I ended up in Dove wing. It was an empty room – because it had bed bugs. I went in there I lay down under the mattress and I stripped off all my clothes. One officer came in and picked up the mattress. And they screamed and called others. Four or five female officers came in and took me. I was screaming and crying “I don’t want to go, I am a victim of torture, I have a 6 year old daughter”. The officers covered me in blankets. It took an hour to take me. They said just go to reception and you can explain to them why they shouldn’t take me. So I put on my clothes and about 10 guards took me there through the back door. And the other girls were locked in their room but I could hear them “Don’t go don’t go”.

I taken to a room in recember. Four people came into the room and introduced themselves and I said I wanted to explain why you shouldn’t take me. They said no, we are escorts. I said ‘But I was told you were immigration officers’. They said no, the officers lied. They searched me, looking in my mouth, my whole body and in my shoes. They put on this tag on me to tie my hands together and put something like a belt, a special life belt around my waist. The officers were beside me – if I ran away they could pull me back with the belt. It was tight.

But how could they lie to a vulnerable person. I’m so angry with them. I know they are just doing a job.

They took me in the car – they untied my hands but the belt was still there. They drive me to the airport. They said it was just their job. Some people they take naked, some have clothes. They said calm down – we know you have a daughter, we know how stressful. They were a little bit nice, they said don’t upset yourself too much.

I had put in a JR and I had support form Black women Against Rape and Movement for Justice and Yarl’s Wood Befrienders as well. They had got support for me on the internet to stop  the flight. When we arrived at the airport – I could hear people screaming – the said ‘Stop! Don’t take her on the flight’. I didn’t see them – but I could hear them screaming ‘stop stop’ and the air crew told me what they were saying. I felt really great- I was so happy. I felt really powerful. Before I was helpless but then I was powerful, I was excited.

I went in the plane and sat between the two officers. I was thinking about ways to misbehave. Then suddenly another escort came from behind said stop stop stop. Everything happened quickly. They said get off quickly quickly. I couldn’t believe it. And they took me to Colnbrook and I’m waiting to go back to Yarl’s Wood. Yarl’s Wood is not safe – it should be shut down. Nobody is safe in there.

I’m thankful to the judge who stopped the flight and all the people who have supported me.

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