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?

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.

But now I feel my future is black. Bad life then next it became good life, then bad life, until now it’s bad.

This is the second time I have been detained. I enter into this country on the _______ and since I enter, they took me to Dover for 2 days and then they moved me to Tinsley House. I stay there around 1 month and pandemic came, they release me by immigration there. And I move for several hotels. ______, then _____, then _____. Recently in ______. I received paper from the Home Office that I should go to Luna House in London. So when I go there, they detain me again in Brook House. Now they want to send me again to Spain after I sit here in this country for more than 5 months and 15 days until now. I stay in this country which mean this is the longest time I sit in European countries including UK. This is what is going on in UK, but if you want to know from where I grow up, where I born, I can give you details about.

Well I born in Yemen for two years and then my family decided that Yemen is not good for the normal life. They moved to Saudi Arabia to work and when I arrived 13 my dad is dead. And I’m the only boy for my mum. My mum she’s still in Saudi Arabia when I arrived 18, I went to Yemen to study as a doctor. I stay there for 1 year. That was in 2013 when I was 19. And during that time the Houthi movement is start. It’s the movement to occupation the city centre it’s Sanaa it’s the capital city. And there I was study there. They catch me near to my University, they understand that I have different accent, which belong to Saudi Arabia. They try to investigate about me and they know I’m from Yemen and they know that I have home in Sanaa.

They go to my home and take it and they want for good because I from, I came from Saudi Arabia. And they have a lot of information about their life, lifestyle, how they think, where is the important place, they want to, they were, they were just interested in military questions. So I arrived to that point that I should go back to Saudi Arabia to bring my mum they said we will stay in this home until you came. I run away from them. I run away from these people. I say a lot of things that… I’m from Yemen, but I never feel that I belong to a country. If you will go from Yemen, you will not believe what is going on. So I back to Saudi Arabia. In 2014 I found myself useless, until someone get me a van, I work illegal in the company… you know it’s called Creem, for transportation. I was working as assistant project manager and during that time, I can handle myself. I was having salary, I was having normal life. I was travelling, I was studying in University. I have a certificate from England, because this University they have a branch in Saudi Arabia. So when I graduate I find myself facing the authorisation system that belong to the new King, they want to employ many Saudi so I find myself I can’t work there and I can’t offer myself to pay for my ID because they are taking a lot of tests for the foreigner. I arrive to that point if I couldn’t find work, this is mean my visa would be expire so I would back to Yemen, I thought. And I don’t want that.

So in _________, I moved from Saudi Arabia to Mauritania, by airplane. And from Mauritania I cross to Mali, this is in Africa. When you move illegal there are many smugglers, they will transport you from place to another place. You will pay every time. And I find myself with a smuggler he said he will take us, 200 for everyone. And he appeared me if I don’t pay, he tortured us, I were with some of African people. He was raping some women and he was have gun and he said I just want 500 Dir and I will leave you. I stay with him for 8 days, some people they cannot pay, he sell them for other people, but I contact with my friend in Saudi Arabia, he is working in Unilever, he is from Palestine, I told him what’s my problem and he said, “okay I will pay 500”. After 8 days I find the hard time with him. I broke my nose, he put a knife in my chest and even he banged me in my left, my right hand in my shoulder with back of the gun. And when he understand that I will pay for him he to start to treat me nicely, until take he take his money, and he left me on the street, then I complete my way with the other smugglers. I enter into Algeria. For Mali into Algeria, and then I… it was 3 steps, because Algeria is a big place, and then I enter from Algeria to Morocco. From Morocco I was trying to go to Melilla by the door and the police from Morocco they threaten me also, one of them they slap me in my face because I was trying to enter to Spain, in Melilla. It’s part of Africa, if you don’t understand that, because people they don’t understand how can you go from Morocco to Spain by walk. Yes, there is a place belong to Spain. So when I find myself I cant go from the gate I decide to go by the sea… he insult my mum, he insult my mum and slap me. I don’t accept that but I say that I will never go through this door. I will try to go by sea again. And you know that they say, there is a lot of people are dying, one of my friend he is die from the sea on the 15th of September, his name is Hilal. The seas mean you will die or you will survive. That’s what’s going on.

I enter into a place in island that belongs to Spain military that is called “Chafaner”. And the military they let me stay for two days and after two days there is something that happen to me. There is a woman, from the military, she want me to clean my, she want me to clean that place that is provided to me, like a big room, and during that time she was monitoring me when I was in my room. She treat me bad you know like I’m shit you know. She broke my heart but after two days there is a, they call it in English, Red Cross, they bring a ship to take me. I was, we were two, me and one boy, he is also from Yemen. They took us to Melilla again. But this time I enter to Melilla by sea, by the help from the military. In Melilla I stay there for three months in a camp, and in this camp in Melilla there is a lot of thieves outside of the camp. So I fight one, four, five, six people, six boys, they are teenagers you know, but because they are teenagers, they are surviving by stealing people things. To be honest I fight with them, they don’t take anything but one of my hand, in the left hand there is one finger is still hurting, until now, it’s not moving smoothly, until now. So I said it’s okay, still in Africa, and when I go to Spain, these things will be different.

They move me to Cadiz, it’s like island, again. But this is not a problem, I find myself in a room with 6 people. All the people with me they are evicted asylum seeker but they have the right to stay for 3 months, but in my case, I will be accepted because I have a war in my country so I was not afraid about to be evicted to be honest. But there is also things happen because they are knowing each other, they are living each other. They always look at me with strange eyes and stole shoes from me and my headphones. And one day one of them he get angry and they banged me my head. It doesn’t hurt me actually but I said as much as I can I will not let this going on, so I took my right, I called the police, I speak with them in English, they bring one of the police officer, when they came, one of the boys he speak Spanish, he told them “there is nothing, don’t worry, there is no problem here”. So he lie just to close this case. And I speak with the police, I told them “listen he is threatening me, that he will broke my head until the blood is here. He said to me directly “no blood, no case”. I said “okay”. He said if he banged you with your head, you can go to the emergency too, we have people. So, I find myself the police is not standing with me and even the place that I’m living there is not good. Because it is easy to understand the asylum seeker, they have different rules there. You go with different organisation and you’re a victim. Maybe you will have a good organisation and maybe you will not.

I arrived to the point that I will not stay in that place in Cadiz. So I moved to Barcelona and in Barcelona, I go to the Red Cross and I told them I have the right to stay in Spain and I want home. They told me that I should to come in… I apply for them on the _________, they told me come in __________, so I should come to Barcelona for 3 months, see what’s going on, to can provide accommodation, so they don’t provide accommodation, in Barcelona like homeless, I meet bad people. I told the Red Cross how I can survive, they told me you can go to for the homeless, is a place for the government, they open their doors at 9 you can sleep until 7 and they will kick your ass out, until you can’t more. So when I go to sleep once, I find a lot of them, they are drinking, they don’t let you sleep. It’s hard for me. So I said at least I’m going to search for a place so I can survive.

I find myself in Paris with Romanian people. They are also bad people but they are nicely  because I am homeless and they speak Spanish, they treat me nicely. I go with them. They were stealing things from the groceries, they would do bad things, but at the same time, I was surviving with them now. I’m not bad boy but how can I survive. Until in one day, I meet one, they said, “go to Calais”. I said “what there is?”, he said “in Calais you will have your own camp”. I said, “really I will have a camp for myself?” I were happy really. Because this is what I want, I want to sleep to alone, I want just to eat. That’s it. My request it was so easy, I find myself in Calais. And then I find a lot of people there trying to go to the UK. I find a lot of them. I ask everyone. I meet a lot of Yemenis, they are coming from German, they get evicted because their fingerprint. I find a lot of them they came from all European countries they get evicted because of their fingerprint. And all of the people they want to run to UK. So I decided I want to run there. Why? Because when the people come to the UK they are treated good. I will stay in this country. So I was finding a good country to belong. Because since I born, I never belong to any country, until now. I can tell you. I own this Yemen passport, yes, but I never feel like I belong to country. Because I am education, and I want to belong to country, I want to know what’s going in my economy, you know I have different mind. I want to belong to a country. So I said UK. UK. I contacted my friend, they are Saudis, they are studying in UK, they told me “you can go _____ but don’t think you will have a good life, they are capitalism”, I said “I know what it means capitalism”, but it’s okay for me I can survive, because I speak this language. At least I can speak with anyone, I can tell anyone I feel pain directly, without to speak in Arabic, without using interpreter, because I feel bad when I were in Spain. I don’t speak Spanish, the people there treat me bad, and when I want to speak, you can’t.

In Calais, I was trying to go to UK, there is a lot of things, where they are occupation the barking for the lorries. So in one day I want to do a chance and they threatening me I can’t and if I come again they will kill me, like Sudanese. Maybe you know there are a lot of things over there, they are killing people. In one day there were six officers that came to move people from where they are sleeping, they banged me in my head just to enter into the car to the police station, until my eyes are bleeding from inside. So I stay there in Calais for 3 months trying to go, in ______ I was having bad idea that I will go, I will swim for 5 minutes from the beach to the boat, I can enter to the boat, and enter to the ship that will go to UK. It’s easy, I’m a good swimmer, I came from Jeddah, Jeddah is on the beach, I like fish I know how to snorkelling, I know how to diving, even I know how to do fishing. It’s easy, so I enter into the sea, and I find it, the weather, I don’t think about the weather, I thought coming from 5 degree country, the weather is 5 degree. So my body is stop, all my body I can’t move it, after 2 mins I’m stuck in the sea, I find the wave is move me to out of the beach. I was screaming. I feel die. I stay there for 40 minutes, no one, no one listen to me. I thought I will die. Until, the police they came, they give me their hand, I give them my hand and I wake up in the hospital. It was nightmare for me, and in that time I find smugglers, who told me, that known me for long time and he’s nicely with me and he said “you know that people, they are paying 5000 pounds, if you can offer 2000 euro, I will take you with me”, I contact with my friend _______ I don’t have brothers, I don’t have family really. He said “it’s fine in my salary it will come and I will give it to you, just wait me for one month”. I arranged the money. I try once in February and the waves was so high, I was almost died, but I don’t scared this time because I feel death before I went. But the people they are crying, they were bringing the people to back. We back again to Calais after 1 hour. On ______ we try again and we enter to the UK.

So there is things that you don’t know. But maybe you want’ to know. In Paris, they want to appear me bisexual things and I resist that, I resist that he was nicely with me, he was just seeing if I will accept or not. But in Barcelona, one of them he wanted to rape me and I broke his head by a bottle of glass and I run away to Paris.

I told you all of my story now. So I’m just running away. Running, running, running.  Until I arrive to the UK and they want to kill my life again to start from zero. The problem is where will I go now? I don’t want to go to Spain. I want to go to another country. I want to go to Canada, I want to go to America. I want to go to any country, I don’t want back to Europe. Even if UK they don’t want me it’s okay. I don’t want to fight their regulation but at least search for a good place for me. I’m really feel bad. There are some people they cross from Spain, just they have fingerprint and they don’t want to Spain, their idea to go to UK, their own choice. But no, I want to stay in Spain, but I can’t stay in Spain. Really I can’t, I can’t. Even in France, one of the police, I forgot to tell you they banged me in my eyes. I still have scars in my eyes. It was bleeding on my face. I know, you will not believe, but I still have a video when he banged me. Is still have the video when I go out from the building in Calais, and before I go from the organisation in Spain, sorry I really forget things, before I go from my organisation I send an informal email to the United Nations, I told them everything what I see in this organisation because I was just asking them to move me to another organisation, but they said we will do our own investigation and no one was look after me. S what else, I call the police, he doesn’t help me, I contact with the United Nations, they don’t help me. I go to Barcelona, they don’t help me. I go to Calais, they don’t help me, the police. So I came to this country. I’m sorry if I bother you but I came by force. So now what? If you want to kill me? They detained me twice, I’m the only boy here in this detention, who is detained twice.

For me, they just detain me, and then no they don’t give me ticket, but for other people, many of them they have ticket except for one maybe. I think there are only two they don’t have ticket, including me. But other’s they have ticket on 27. And today one, our boys, they cancelled their ticket. One only and the others they have ticket, and for me I don’t have ticket. But I’m detained. I spoke with the mental health I told them I’m hearing noise from my head, they don’t care. I told them I can’t sleep, they don’t care. I told them I have nightmares, they don’t care. I told them, I’m taking medicine it’s for my high pressure and I have anxiety in my heart. I have an irregular beating heart you know. I explain everything, but no one cares. Really, I mean it. No one cares. Not immigration, United Nations, European countries. No one cares, no. The problem is UK they are taking our case and country, there is one, his name is Martin Griffiths from 2018, he’s from UK… everything that is going on with this country which is Yemen, no one cares. Unfortunately European countries, they are just lying. This is what I understand now. They are just like an angel from outside and they are dead from inside. I’m sorry to say that, but this is what I discover. I travel from many countries. My ex-girlfriend is from Europe also and when I enter Spain, I know this people they are kindly, but their system for an asylum seeker is bad. It’s exhausting, They are just treating you like a homeless. What I want from my paper if you will not give me accommodation, at least you will give me permission to work. I have high education. Just give me permission to work and I will manage myself. Nothing. Nothing. And now what? Suicide? I can’t. They just give me reason. What I will kill myself? Just help yourself, you can’t even die. No one cares. I came by myself by the way, the taxi he told me, “I will give you a new accommodation”. I said “you are lying, you will take me to the station, it’s okay I am going with, I am not afraid. If they do not want to give me my paper, it’s okay”, you know the God will fix my pain in one day. But now I feel my future is black. Bad life then next it became good life, then bad life, until now it’s bad.

I can honestly say I have never felt so alone and hopeless in my life, but I have never felt such anger either.

We are still traumatised due to yesterday’s events, I can’t tell you how unsettling this is, I haven’t spoken to a single officer today and I don’t see how I can, I can’t even look them in the eyes, I just keep thinking “I wonder which one of you is going to put their hands on me” after what I saw last night I keep having flashbacks, I feel guilty like I should have done something more, it was very tense and I thought it was going to kick off at one point, we were crying shouting at the officers to let her go, and they were shouting in our faces and threatening us. I can’t get that image of her strapped like a Guantanamo inmate out of my mind.

I have never felt so vulnerable in my life and I have been in some shitty situations, I’m so anxious I can’t relax, it’s like I’m in the wolf’s den and I will get eaten eventually, I don’t know what is worse, the anticipation of the event or the event itself.

I can honestly say I have never felt so alone and hopeless in my life, but I have never felt such anger either.

I hope we can all stick together and stop this happening again, all detainees should stop being afraid, or use that fear to fight for their own and each other’s survival.

We have to make a stand for not just our rights but for what is right.

Unity and Solidarity is what will make the difference.

They put her in handcuffs.

There is a problem. There is a woman who has been in Yarl’s Wood for a year. She was in the kitchen all day working. They told her nothing.

Tonight, 7 male officers came to take her. They put her in handcuffs. It was very violent. She cried. She cried so much.  She was shouting help me, help me, help me.

Everybody jumped from their rooms into the corridor. We went to the door.  We said “go away leave the girl alone”. The officers were shouting back at us. The officers were saying “What the fuck are you doing? Go in your rooms. Shut your mouths.” They talk like that, you understand. It’s not funny. What is wrong with people here. We said why are you being rude to us, like the gestapo. They bully, bully bully you. It’s not nice. It’s violent, it’s very violent.

Why are we not allowed phones with cameras in here? They are hiding something you know, they are guilty. And they feel guilty because they are hiding something.

I hope the Stansted 15 know that we are with them in spirit

I am confident that I speak for all detainees and not just those here in Yarl’s Wood when I say how terribly aggrieved we are at the prosecution of the Stansted 15.

The severity of the charges and the lengthy sentences they face are hard to accept and troubles me personally and I can only hope that justice will prevail in this matter.

Their actions did not cause any loss of life or damage to property yet the sentences they face are graver than say a drink driver who mows down a child, or a rapist would face.

All they did was bring attention to an unjust practice which still continues to be practiced by the Home Office.

Although I am shocked by this it is sad to say that I am not surprised, and as I have said before, because the home office acts with impunity regarding immigrants, their actions will trickle down to other parts of society and I am truly fearful for the liberty of all.

I hope the Stansted 15 know that we are with them in spirit, we appreciate all they have done and it is because of principled people like them that all advancements are made regarding human rights and civil liberties, and being oppressed by the powers that be is standard procedure in these cases as history has proven time and again.

I feel a kinship with them because of what they are going through and I understand completely how they feel and no matter what happens they are all going to fine. I know they must be strong people because their actions prove that.

I hope that justice prevails and your liberty remains intact so that you can continue in your noble fight for the liberty of others.

Stay Strong

You are a true inspiration

Love, Solidarity and gratitude from the Yarl’s Wood Strikers

They even restrained her legs because she started to cry

I am so grateful to Diane Abbott and others who helped to stop the deportation of my friend who was snatched from us without warning on Friday.

Although I am so glad she is back as she is dear to me and I was afraid of what might happen to her in ********, I am still afraid after hearing how she was taken.

She told me how after being summoned to healthcare, she saw the doctor because she was still not eating, and then straight from there they took her to the segregation unit which is directly outside healthcare, where she had no phone until much later when officers retrieved it from her room along with all her belongings, not that it did any good as there is no signal and she couldn’t contact anyone. But most shocking is that she was fully restrained from the segregation unit up until the deportation was cancelled. What I don’t understand is that she is 5f2 very thin and frail, as well as being one of the most passive pacifists I have ever met and she did not resist.

They even restrained her legs because she started to cry.

I am so terrified I can’t imagine how she felt, literally tied like a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter.

I dread my turn and it will come, I am more afraid than ever and there is nothing I can do but be detained and have this threat over my like a guillotine.

There has to be a better way.

For most of us it is a fight for life as we know it, if not for life itself

Today has been a very emotional day for me personally,

I am struggling to see anyone in healthcare here in Yarl’s Wood and even going to get my anti-depressants is a struggle now as I just don’t feel I can have any sort of contact with the healthcare staff as I feel vulnerable when I do and I can’t make myself vulnerable in that environment.

So that being said one of my dear friends and fellow activist was segregated today, this is what they do now before you are deported, and even though she is still here I fear she might be lost to me forever.

One faint ray on sunshine is that Stuart McDonald and hopefully Yvette Cooper are visiting us today and we, though diminished in number, are still very grateful for the opportunity to speak with members of the select committee.

We want to know if anything is being done regarding our plight but I also need to know if the Home Office will be held to account for their oppressive treatment of detainees, and when will it’s practices be regularised by a truly independent body, it cannot be allowed to continue it’s immoral and even illegal practices with impunity any longer.

A serious investigation needs to take place into how the Home Office choose to interpret policy and how it enforces these policies, but ideally we would like a clear change in policy with no room for interpretation because our very lives are affected by this bureaucratic administrative body.

I speak for myself and many others when I say the situation for us is getting worse, we are not coping with the constant pressures on us and how can we fight our cases in this sorry state. For most of us it is a fight for life as we know it, if not for life itself.

It is this reality, this desperation I face and deal with every day, not to mention my own personal hell that is dealing with my own case, from the purgatory that is Yarl’s Wood.