I think the protest is a good one. To make people aware that mass deportation is mass slavery. They should not be deporting people – because I’ve still got my case pending in the upper tribunal. Why could they not let me finish my case and let me know if I have right to remain or not. I have put in an injunction to stop my removal – and I hope it will stop. I’m waiting for the judge. They’ve moved us to the G wing that is the section that they lock people like a prison. It’s just simple overstaying – they don’t need to be treating people like that. It’s human and degrading. It’s just punishment. Right now I’m feeling so bad. I’m feeling that there’s no human rights at all.
One of the things I find daunting is the treatment of the detainees at Colnebrook.
I was arrested on Tuesday. I was put in a bus to travel a long way to Lincolnshire, to Morton Hall detention centre. No Home Office official inducted me there, they just asked my name and told me I’ve been arrested because I’m an overstayer. I stayed one night there. They did not tell me anything when they brought me back down to London.
The right thing to do would be to address me as a human. But no one spoke to me. They didn’t tell me that they were moving me to London, to Colnebrook. It happened when I was about to go to the bathroom, I hadn’t gone to for breakfast yet. They took me, and carried me to Colnebrook. They’ve put me in a unit for quick removal. Some people have been here a week.
I’ve lived here for 8 years. I have been a lecturer in this country. I’ve trained hundreds of engineers in this country. I’ve done loads of community work.
I have been living in Newcastle for the last 8 years. I’ve worked with a local charity and the Salvation Army. They do a lot of community work. Through the charity I’ve been working with students on ICT at Sunderland University. The MPs know about me, they’ve been writing letters. I’ve also lectured at Newcastle College on Engineering.
The Newcastle college employed me but then the Home Office advised them not to sponsor my application. The situation I am in was created by the Home Office. I wasn’t an unemployed person – I was giving lectures. A judge advised me to seek legal advice for a case against the Home Office. But in England we don’t have legal aid so I couldn’t challenge it. So my job ended because of the Home Office and the story started from there. Now I’m in detention. I cannot get justice. I do not have money to get my job back.
I want people to know: The strict immigration system has strangled me in this country. It prevented me from having the funds to prevent this becoming an issue. It’s important for people to know that the Home Office caused this problem in the first place.
My DBS record is clean – I challenge anybody to challenge it. I don’t have any record of doing any wrong doing in this country. I didn’t choose to be here. Because I’m just an individual, I cannot get justice.
It is good to document what is happening here. There are more people here. I can see that there are people here who are going through excruciating pain. They are denying people access to their husbands and family. It’s like we don’t matter.
People would be better off if they had better access to legal aid in immigration. Immigration is one of the major issues in British society today. There are men here with children outside. Detention is taking their fathers away. Do you think those children would be happy tomorrow? It is creating a societal problem.When people have issues, it’s better to deal with them than throw the whole family into hardship. How should children carry on without fathers and without mothers, in a complex society like ours.
So more legal aid, help get justice for families and for the poor. It’s so important when people have no right work.
My lawyer made a mistake in my case. It’s basic element of humanity – we are not infallible as humans. But when there is a basic error and they admit it they should say okay we’ll seek a way to correct it. But they made people pay a heavy penalties for these errors by taking them out of the country, taking them out of their job. We are all humans yeah. And one of the elements of humanity is we make mistakes. And the law firm made a mistake but when we appealed they said it was out of date. And between these two stages it cost about £5000. And if we continued further I might have won but it would have cost so much more money. How can I pay that? And you’re not working because you can’t work. This is what I mean by being denied justice. Why is it like this?
You claim to be the crème de la crème of the in societies in the world. But where is the justice and the fairness here?
I’m in Colnbrook detention centre, very close to Heathrow airport in London.
I was detained in Morton Hall last week and then they brought me here.
I was supposed to have an appointment. An eye appointment in Derby with a doctor. I had to book a new one for next week. I told the immigration officer about it but they won’t let me go to it.
Boko Haram drove me from Nigeria. My wife left me. My daughter left me. My brother brought me here. I have built a life here. I have a new girlfriend now. I have been here 10 years. I’ve been here ten good years.
Now they want to take me back on a charter flight to Nigeria. Where would I stay? I’m in a very terrible situation. Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night screaming and my heart was racing. I was sweating, the bed was soaking with sweat because of the fear about tomorrow.
I don’t want to go. I have nowhere to stay. Even my brother called the Home Office and spoke to the caseworker. He said “What is the problem? This is the only brother I have. He has depression. There are only two of us. Leave him alone.”
But they just said go to see a lawyer. With the lawyer, I put in the papers and they denied me. They just denied me. The lawyer said there’s nothing they can do.
My brother is crying every day. Since I came to this country I’ve been staying with him. I’ve been in his house. Somebody who has left his country of 10 years. How do you want them to start their life all over again? I’ll be destitute.
I learnt from someone that there have been protests in London against the charter flight. They should stop chartering people away. The protests are justified because when you see people who have contributed in one way or another, people who have stayed here for a long time, and you are doing this to them. When they don’t know anybody there. You are just saying to them go back to the country and die.
I have been in the uk since 2002. I came from Iraq, I was injured and I was beaten nearly to death. In 2001 I went to Germany, but I was refused asylum. I came to the UK because I was worried Germany would send me back to Iraq. In 2006 I met my now ex-girlfriend. We were together until 2013. She had said to apply for a visa with her, so I applied in 2009. I got a visa in 2013. But sadly, we are no longer together. Immigration said to me, because I applied for visa through her but we break up I have to back to Iraq. I am not coming here for visa, I am not coming for this reasons, I came here for my life. I apply for asylum but because I am not wth her they give me refuse. I applied again, I got refused agin.
In 2015, ISIS start killing people for no reason. I had a friend who said ‘why not come to church?’ I changed my religion, I became christian. People are not happy with me because of this, they speak bad about me. After that, the Church baptise me, we did that, then they put my picture on facebook. Then everyone knows I am Christian, everyone knows my situation. Most people don’t want to talk with me anymore, they say to me I shame myself by changing my religion.
2016, immigration come to my house and arrest me, because I have family life visa, which has run out. But its not about that I came here to apply for asylum. They said “we don’t believe you”, they said they don’t believe I change my religion. I said “how do you know what is in my heart?”. They said I don’t have enough evidence. what evidence? My religion is in my heart, how do they know?
Last year, on Christmas Eve they tried to send me back to Baghdad. When they tried to send me back, they put me on the plane with, they twisted my arms, put handcuffs into my wrists, nearly breaking it. They said this is our job. I am human why you do this- they said we have an order.
In Baghdad there is sectarian violence, between tribes and religions. They say it is safe for Christians but its not safe, there used to be 1 1/2 million Christian, now there is less than 500,000- where have they gone? They have been displaced, they have been be-headed. Immigration said there is Christian community in Baghdad but I was born into muslim, not into christian religion- this is different. This is different. In Sharia law you cannot change religion. Now immigration say Baghdad is safe.
I was detained early November. Now I am detained about 70 days. First time I apply for bail, they give me a ticket, therefore I can’t get bail. The judge doesn’t listen to my situation. Again I applied for bail and they give me another ticket. This is not on, what they do to people in here. Some people have been here 5,6,9 months. If my country was safe I would never be here. I love my country but they have been destroying it, the UK and America have been destroying it. We suffer like Syria.
I have never been to prison, I have never committed any crime, I have never committed any offences. I understand if I do something wrong, but I didn’t do anything wrong. I just find out my brother has been kidnapped in Iraq, he is journalist working for TV. I don’t know who has kidnapped him. I just want to get out and find out what has happened to him. It is very hard. I never been to prison but I am here now.
Yesterday I wanted to do suicide but they didn’t let me.
See last week he smashed one of the classrooms, the person who tried to kill himself today. In the ESOL class he smashed the class up last week.
You know the funny thing is there should always be officers here – there should always be an officer at the desk on the first floor, and on the ground floor where we have breakfast. There should be someone there too. If they were in their posts they would have seen the man, they would have seen him hanging there.
They don’t even say thank you. The detainees, we saved his life. The officers, they show no remorse.
The manager of activities just saw the camera footage and she was surprised he didn’t break his neck. Thats when she said thank you – you’ve done a good job. She said he was the same person that smashed up the classroom last week.
None of them care what happened. They haven’t asked us any questions about it. No questions asked.
I hope people find out what is going on in here you know. The tax payers need to know what is happening in these detention centres. It is so bad.
Today was crazy. Really crazy you know. This man he jumped from the second floor trying to hang himself. It was inside the building in the landing. There were no officers on the scene.
This is what happened. I went inside my room to brush my teeth and when I came out he had put the sheet around the metal bed frame and around his neck, and jumped. We pressed the alarm bell three times but nothing happened. They didn’t come for like 20 minutes half an hour. Only one officer ran the others walked like it was normal and they were smiling. They were smiling and they joked about it after.
The bell didn’t go off. The bell should be there for anyone to press if they need it but it didn’t go off. This guy would be dead if it wasn’t for the detainees. The staff weren’t even there. When the police came they said they didn’t need to talk to us, to ask us questions but we were the only ones around there – the officers weren’t there.
You see the guy who did that he was walking around this morning and he was acting strange. If the staff saw him they would know something was wrong but they were in their office having cups of tea. They should be walking around every morning seeing how everyone is but they are always in the office having tea.
We have cameras in here. He had bedding wrapped round his arm from 8 o’clock in the morning. If I saw someone walking with bedding first thing in the morning I would know something was wrong. The cameras are suppose to keep us safe so the officers can respond quickly. He walked passed many cameras. But they didn’t clock anything. I see him every day I knew something was wrong but I’ve never seen anything like this before. I didn’t know he would do that. I ran out straight away and pulled the bed sheet up but then i realised i was making it worse – I was helping him die so I let it go. I didn’t know what to do. Someone else came straight away and knew what to do, he must have seen this before. He lay on the ground and held his hand to hold him up. We tried to undo the knot but it was hard to do so other people were lifting up his feet from the bottom and from the top people were trying to undo the knot. He would be dead if it wasn’t for the other detainees.
He feels like he fails something but no one should feel like that. We should be looked after by the staff and the home office but you don’t get that in here. He didn’t say anything was wrong. I never saw him speak to anyone in this place. We have to keep ourselves occupied to cope with this place, but you have to do your own thing.
This place is really horrible. They don’t treat you like a human being, they treat you like an animal, like a foreigner. I’ve been in two other detention centres but this is the worst. The hygiene, the food everything. It is just the way the place is. You can not trust the staff. You just can’t. To them its like ‘immigrants, immigrants’. In other removal centres you have a much better relationship with the staff. If you have a problem you can speak with them but here you can’t. You can only talk to your friends but your friends have their own problems you know. The staff they do they get trained to deal with stuff in here, but they don’t do anything. You never see the staff, the sit at their desks all day having cups of teas. You ask for something and it takes a week to get done. You can’t trust people like that.
They don’t care. If one person dies its a number, they just put a number down. When people get deported they are happy and say ‘one person down, one less person to stress about’.
The police just stood in the place where the guy tried to commit suicide for 20 minutes. They should check the cameras, they should take the statements. They didn’t take any of our statements. They should take statements from the people that saw what happened to see what happened. But they said they didn’t need to. Then they left.
The fire alarm bell doesn’t work. The question everyone should be asking is why that wasn’t working. Everywhere you go the fire alarm should be working. If there was a fire what would you do. If the officers didn’t hear all the screaming they wouldn’t have come. Only once I have heard it working. Lets say a fire happened, or a riot. They are over the other side having cups of tea and laughing. In prison the officers walk around and check. This place is the worst place I have ever been. They feed you when you are supposed to be fed and that is it. You do your own life. You have to cope.
They’ve taken him off to hospital. I don’t know where. We won’t hear anything about the man. Depends who is in the same unit but the staff won’t tell us. We need to get answers, we all saw it. ‘We can’t tell you, its confidential’ they say. But we need to know he is OK so we feel OK. The only way we find out is through the other detainees. ‘He is fine, he is doing good, don’t worry…’ thats all we want to know.
They deny everything to the detainees here. There was one officer from Colnbrook who now became the manager of all the officers – he moved next door to Hammondsworth. There isn’t any money and there isn’t enough officers so he makes them move between Harmondsworth and Colnbrook. They are supposed to stay in one wing but they jump between – wing to wing and between centres. Half day here, half day there. The officers he have no idea what he doing or know the detainees properly. Because the officer is stress he taking it out on the detainees.
Last month three Albanians escaped from here. There aren’t enough officers. They have no control over nothing. Since then they made the fences higher, and they put more cameras.
I say to them ‘I need some help’, when they lock me behind the door but they say they have to lock the door because they don’t have enough officers. They ask me to help them and stop but i have panic attacks and seizures and they lock the door on me because they don’t have enough officers. I say they need to help me not me help them.
I have pneumonia before in 2011. I have been saying please fix the air conditioning. I have seen about six people working on the air condition but in some room its like freezer. I put toothpaste around the machine in my room to stop the air coming out because 3-5 in the morning it is like a freezer in here. In the day time its not working I can’t breath I use the fan. I have two inhalers since the pneumonia I got here before. I didn’t have asthma before I came here, no one in my family had has it.
I cost too much money since being in health care. Because I cost them more money every three – four day they ask me when I am going, whats happening with my immigration – they want me to get out because i am costing them huge money. They want to know when I will leave or be deported. Just go out from the centre.
Before, about 2009 – 11 above the visit room there were about 24 detainees. They are the ‘good behaved’ detainees and we had our doors open 24 hours. They change it now for women not for men. We used to have the doors open. Because there are not enough officers they lock the door. In the hospital we don’t have the doors locked – we are ill why they lock the door? When I go to hospital they put the hand cuffs on me. I’m disabled and on crutches. Am I a danger to the public or something – how am i going to run away on crutches?!