Friday 28 June 2013

Film showing: The Machinists. Female Bangladeshi Garment Workers. Tuesday 9th July 2013

The personal stories of three female garment workers and the boss of a trade union in Dhaka show the human cost of western high street fashion.

This is such an important film in the wake of the recent Rana Plaza factory collapse on 24th April in Bangladesh that killed 1,127 garment workers. This is not an isolated incident but follows many other building collapses and fires in Bangladesh and underdeveloped countries around the world. It represents an inevitable symptom of the imperialist system, where the rich in a handful of countries, including Britain, live off the exploitation of the rest of the world.

The workers are still fighting to get companies who use the factories to sign the ‘Bangladesh Fire and Safety Agreement’ which would mean safer conditions and for the government to effectively enforce this. Walmart who own Asda continue to refuse to sign the agreement. Walmart is the world’s largest retailer. Demonstrations have been taking place in the West End of Newcastle outside Asda to support the demands of the Bangladeshi workers and help build the pressure. Come to the film to learn more and discuss action we can take to support this struggle.

More than half of the victims were women, along with a number of their children who were in the factory nursery. Yet earlier this month, at Walmart’s annual meeting, Tom Cruise (who was one of many celebrities present) commented with racist and sexist contempt for the workers by glossing over reality:

“Very pleased to be here. I truly admire your company, you know, and the more I learn about everything that you do, I’m inspired by what you all create every day, you know, because your company—I’m sure you all know this, but it is a role model for how business can address some of the biggest issues facing our world, you know, in ways big and small. And all around the globe, Wal-Mart is taking the lead and making a difference. And that’s something I really admire. You know, that this company does is it’s using its size and scale to improve women’s lives across the world.”

Friday 24 May 2013

EDL attacks Mosques and Targets Muslims - Stop the EDL in Newcastle, tomorrow 1pm, City Hall

Following Wednesday's attack the EDL are stepping up their attacks on Muslims and their rhetoric and actions in support of the British Army's wars in the Middle-East and Africa. Tomorrow they will be mobilising in force in Newcastle upon Tyne. Show your opposition from 1pm at the anti-fascist march from Newcastle's City Hall.

 woolwich edl

Originally posted at:

Woolwich Attacks: 'Massive Spike' In Anti-Muslim Attacks Including Death Threats And Vandalism

The Huffington Post Uk  |  By  

Muslim leaders have expressed fears over the "massive spike" in Islamophobic abuse following the butchering of a solider in Woolwich on Wednesday.

Tell MAMA, the charity which monitors anti-Muslim attacks, has logged 83 new incidents of threats or violence reported by Muslims to its helpline in the last 24 hours.
The charity usually receives four to eight calls per day. Nineteen of those attacks have been street based.

"Most of them have been abuse against Muslims though they also range to threats to kill, murder and attack mosques," Fiyaz Mughal of Tell Mama told The Huffington Post UK.
"One of them was an incident at Braintree mosque where an individual tried to enter the mosque saying ‘Where is your Allah now,’ and two knives and a smoke bomb were found on him."
The widespread nature of the attacks has caused concern that there may be a more prolonged backlash against Muslims than previously anticipated, after the killing Drummer Lee Rigby.

The English Defence League rallied its followers to the streets of Woolwich on the night of the killing, and mosques have been targeted by lone far-right extremists across the country.
Braintree's Geoffrey Ryan is set to appear in court charged with two counts of possession of offensive weapons and affray, after an attack at the Al Falah Braintree Islamist Centre the day after the murder. The secretary of the mosque in Braintree, Sikander Saleemy, said that he felt like it was a "revenge attack".

Kent police said there had been criminal damage caused to a mosque in Canterbury Street, Gillingham, describing it as "racially-aggravated criminal damage".
Mosques in Bolton and Cambridge have also been graffitied, and countless others threatened, Tell MAMA said.

A vile slogan was pained close to Mitcham Junction station, which read “Hell 2 Muslims EDL” . Merton council sai the graffiti has already been removed.

"Muslims at this moment are feeling a real and pervasive sense of fear, particularly Muslim women who fear going out and this is compounded when husbands suggest that they will undertake activities like shopping for them," Mughal told HuffPost UK.
At a meeting with Muslim professionals on Thursday, Mughal said that 11 of the people he met, in a group of 18, siad they were considering leaving the UK. "This is startling since just over half would consider leaving the UK. This shows a level of deep anxiety about the future of Muslims in the UK," he said.

"Community leaders have called for calm and have strongly rejected the actions of the two individuals who murdered the young soldier. However, many are simply bewildered and do not know what else they can do apart from call for calm.
"Security is an area where mosques have been extremely lax and this needs to change and more so, now."

Tory minister Baroness Warsi said the situation had been unnecessarily inflamed by giving "air-time" to Muslims with extremist views by broadcasters, including preacher Anjem Choudary. "We all have a responsibility, including the media, not to give airtime to extremist voices – idiots and nutters who speak for no one but themselves," she said.
Choudary, former head of banned Islamist organisation Al Muhajiroun, was given a slot on Thursday's BBC2's Newsnight and on Channel 4 News.

Unite Against Facism told HuffPost UK that it had to be recognised that "fascist organisations such as the English Defence League and British National Party are trying to use the murder to whip up racism and direct hatred against all Muslims.
"We do not hold white people collectively responsible for Timothy McVeigh, the US neo-Nazi whose 1995 Oklahoma City bomb killed 168 people, or for David Copeland, the former BNP member who planted bombs across London in 1999.

"The fascist organisations that are trying to stir up trouble and racist violence in the wake of the Woolwich killing do not care about the dead soldier, his family or the interests of any community. They want only to see Muslims attacked and a race war on our streets."
Other Muslim leaders, while strongly condemning the murder of Drummer Rigby, warned politicians and the media about inflaming tensions.

"Statements such as Baghdad violence on the streets of London by the Media is wholly irresponsible and will not lead to any betterment," the Central Association Of Sunni Muslims said in a statement. "We ask all British citizens and in particular the Muslim community of United Kingdom to stand united against any form of violence and terrorism. We continue to pray for the guidance of the misguided and for the riddance of those inciting hate in the name of religion."
This act will no doubt heighten tensions on the streets of Britain," said Imam Irfan Chishti of the Rochdale Council of Mosques. "What has happened is wrong and totally unacceptable but ‘Islam and Muslims’ are not responsible for the actions of a few evil monsters. "
A 26-year-old Muslim woman from Leeds told HuffPostUK the racism she experienced in the aftermath of the Woolwich murders. "I was walking in Leeds town centre with my two children and mother in law after we had been shopping. There were some pigeons on the floor and my two children ran after them as children do. The lady was sat on the bench and her daughter was standing next to her.
"She shouted with grinding teeth at my children saying"Stop it!!" I was shocked and shouted back to her, "Dont speak to my children like that!"
"And she said: "Well tell your children to stop chasing animals like that!". So I told her to shut up and was walking off when she said something under her breath, I heard "murderer".
"I turned around and asked her what she said. She said: "That's right you murderers, you're the scum of the Earth, go back to where you came from!"
"So I told her I was born and brought up here, and she cut me off and said with a snigger: "No you're not.""

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Where is Raul Ally?

Raul Ally is an 18 year old lad from Newcastle, who moved here from Somalia when he was 12. He is currently missing, following his abduction by British immigration police on 10 April and subsequent deportation to Tanzania on 24 April. His family and friends do not know his whereabouts and have no way of getting in contact with him. We need your help to find him.

This was the second time that Raul had been taken to a British immigration prison, despite having committed no crime. On 24 April the Home Office forced him on to a plane, and deported him to Tanzania, a country that he has never stepped foot in and has no links to. At the time of his deportation Raul had been on hunger strike for 14 days and was in a weak and vulnerable state. Since this time Raul’s family have been unable to contact him, and don’t know where or how he is. He may be in an immigration prison in Tanzania, Britain or another country. This is completely unfair on this young man and his friends and family, like thousands of other migrants he struggles against the callous, racist face of the British State. Raul’s case represents the voiceless hundreds and thousands sent back to the most dangerous and poorest areas of the world; one of the dirtiest secrets of successive governments.

Raul and his younger brother fled Somalia when he was 12 years old, after their father had been killed due to political activity. They were left with no family in the country, facing a life of poverty and growing up in a war torn country. He has been living in the North East of England ever since, has reunited with his mother who now lives here, forged friendships and made a life for himself here, playing for local football teams, most recently Gateshead FC youth team, and attended Prudhoe High School and Joseph Swan Comprehensive. He was due to start a Sports Coaching degree at Sunderland University but was locked up in Morton Hall immigration prison for two months last summer so couldn’t start the course. He was released on bail and had to sign at North Shields Immigration Reporting Centre every week and never missed a date.

The racist treatment of refugees in Britain is linked to Britain’s imperialist plunder and pillage around the world, not least in Somalia. Somalia has been carved up so that its energy resources can be exploited. In his November 2011 speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, David Cameron made his intentions on Somalia clear—British intervention. He explained that ‘Somalia is a failed state that directly threatens British interests.’ The London Conference on Somalia that followed in February 2012 was led by Cameron to secure ‘British interests’ in the oil-rich and strategically important region. Ugandan, Burundian, Kenyan, Ethiopian, US, British and French troops have all entered Somalia.

Immigration is being used as a political tool by parties from UKIP to Labour, in a cheap attempt to win votes, scapegoat refugees for housing shortages and divide communities. They over simplify the issues and spread disinformation about the true numbers and reasons for immigration in this country. Raul Ally, like millions of migrants, was a valued and contributory member of his society and should have as much right to stay in this country as any citizen. Please help us to spread awareness of Raul’s disappearance and the injustices he faces. Let’s get Raul back to his family; free, free Raul Ally!

How you can help find Raul:

1. Like and share this article and

the Facebook page:

2. Contact Theresa May to urge her to reveal the whereabouts of Raul and use her powers as Home Secretary to release Raul if he is in a British immigration prison, stop any future deportation and give him indefinite leave to remain. You will need to quote Raul's Home Office reference number A1359895 as they may have him in the system under a different name.

Constituency phone number: 0118 934 5433

Twitter:  @ukhomeoffice  


Fax: 0207 0354745


3. Contact the immigration minister Mark Harper

Constituency Office: 01594 823 482

Westminster Office: 020 7219 5056

4. Call Medical Justice who will take a complaint regarding the health of a refugee. 

Tel: 02075617498

5. Contact press to urge them to cover the story

The Guardian

Phone: 020 3353 2000


The Independent

Phone: 020 7005 2000

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Mysterious death of Nigerian student in police custody in Durham

 Article and action to take against death of Nigerian student in police custody in Durham.
First published:
By Betty Abah
These indeed are evil days. Yet another Nigerian, Mr. Boniface Umale has become the latest victim of death in UK prison custody over unexplained circumstances. Umale, a Masters student in Pipeline Engineering at Northumbria University, Newcastle, was arrested and while it was still unclear the reasons for his arrest, on March 24 authorities at Her Majesty Prison, Durham announced that he had died!

While friends, in shock, were still rallied round, trying to talk the Nigerian High Commission in UK to action, while trying to ask for a post-mortem result and to ensure justice is done, and while his family is yet to be officially informed, only yesterday, Barrister Adeniji of Rock Solicitors, the lawyer hired by his friends was at the prison only to learn that the body of the late student was being prepared for cremation! What are the prison authorities trying to hide?

Why is the Nigerian High Commission foot-dragging?

The world needs an explanation on what really happened to Boniface Umale, the young aspiring Nigerian cut short at the height of his dreams.

Below is a letter from his friend Daniel Okpla to the media, detailing the case:

Dear Editor,

Friends and members of the Idoma community in the UK have been saddened by the mysterious death in prison of Mr. Boniface Umale. Mr Umale graduated in 2008 with an MSc degree in project Management from the Northumbria University, Newcastle and started another M.Sc degree in Pipeline Engineering until his demise in custody.

According to the Her Majesty Prison (HMP) Durham, Boniface died in the early hours of 24th March and the news was broken to the Nigerian High Commission on Monday 25th of March 2013. He was held at HMP Durham and attended several court trials.

As at the time of writing, HMP Durham could not confirm if he was convicted of any crime and have not submitted any autopsy report to the Nigerian High Commission despite several requests by the High Commission and the Idoma community in Diaspora.

Without confirmation from the Nigerian High commission, HMP Durham has indicated her intention to proceed with cremating the body without following due process. Family, friends and the entire Idoma community in Diaspora have made it clear that cremation is culturally unacceptable and arrangement must be made to repatriate the body to the family at Otukpo, Benue State for a befitting burial.

Suffice to say that HMP Durham owes Boniface and all suspects and/prisoners in her custody the duty of care and protection no matter the allegation against them. Any failure in this regard is viewed seriously. It is completely unacceptable that HMP Durham seem to be sweeping this matter under the carpet.
They have failed to provide answers to pertinent question agitating the minds of friends and family members at such a difficult time. Boniface's family and friends need to know:

1. When and why was he arrested including access to legal representation?
2. The level of care and support he received while in police custody prior to arriving at the HMP Durham prison.
3. Why did the police and the authority of HMP Durham fail to notify any one in UK or Nigeria of his arrest and detention until his death?
4. Was his death at HMP Durham prison racially motivated or due to gross negligence?
5. Was he particularly in a solitary confinement and without appropriate monitoring and risk assessment?
6. How was he treated in custody including any history of hospital attendance?
7. Why is the authority of HMP Durham refusing to disclose his post mortem report and insisting on cremation despite strong protest from members of the Idoma community?

While we expect the law to take its full course, the authority of HMP Durham must be held to account in keeping her obligation of duty of care and protection to all inmates in her custody. We press for transparency, justice and equity in this matter. We are strongly opposed to cremation which is a cultural taboo and hereby urge the HMP Durham and the UK government to investigate this matter and bring justice to the grieving family.

Many thanks for bringing our plight to your highly esteemed audience.

Yours sincerely,
Daniel OKPLA

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Newcastle Press Wants You to Deport Immigrants

On the heels of the deportation of Hassanat Aliyu and her three children, who were taken from their home in the early hours on 6th March, the Border Agency continues its targeting of immigrants in an overt attempt to produce a split along the familiar and well-trodden lines of race and nation.  A recent story from the Newcastle Chronicle reports that in February, restaurants and grocers in Newcastle were raided by the UK Border Agency (  While the article focuses on Akbar’s Curry House and the arrest of three Pakistani, Nepali, and Iranian workers, The Chronicle’s reporting on behalf of the UKBA reveals a number of troubling trends that indeed, conflicts with the work of many journalists whose reports are left buried under the institutional racism of the media and government.  Left unreported in the article is the fact that the UK, European Union, and the United States routinely detain and deport migrants.  As Chronicle journalist Sarah Scott reported in another (and more responsible) article on the wider context of Hassant’s deportation, the UK deports people every eight minutes, while over 400,000 people have been deported from the United States in 2012 alone ( — with plans to ratchet up these startling numbers that criminalize the very act of movement.  New methods of immigrant detention—from interdiction at the external and now internal borders of Britain and the United States, to the use of remotely piloted drones— provide the state with more power, private industries with more profits, and civil society with an utter distrust of immigrants, cast as outsiders through the mechanisms of racism.

                           The evident collusion between journalism and the security state in the Chronicle article is the first element that we need to unravel in order to reveal how we are dubbed and duped into being pawns in the great games of class and race war.  First, the article encourages you to report suspected illegal immigrants to Crimestoppers.  They desire your active participation!  In making this call for your participation, the state hopes to make you an integral part of its machinery, the ever watchful and suspicious eye working on behalf of the state.  Second, what constitutes ‘suspicious activity’?  What does a suspicious person look like?  Even with our lazy eye, we can see that this is an unveiled attempt to simply provoke fear and mistrust towards the people we live and interact with. To move to what the article is reporting, we can also see that the actions of the UKBA point to the further rise of the British security state at a time of seeming austerity, where the state is more than content to cut social services while spending its precious cash in forcing immigrant others out.  The impact of such calls by the state and the so-called independent media is clear: the threat and danger in Britain comes from low wage workers, people who have moved in the face of histories of colonialism and contemporary neo-imperialism that provides profits for corporations and the state.  

As bombs explode on the tenth anniversary of the US and British led violence and devastation of Iraq, we must reject the calls that seek to divide us, to pit your precarity against the precarity of migrants and racialized minorities.  The desire to divide, as we know, is a tactic that Britain has long used at its disposal, from Ireland to the Indian subcontinent, and as illuminated by these most recent, ‘routine’ raids, within the borders of Britain.  As past and current social movements expose, however, through our united struggle against the apparatus that seeks to dominate and divide us.  Though the state (and the press) justifies these raids, detentions, and deportations in the name of your (unless you are an immigrant) job scarcity, illegality, the ‘bogus’ refugee, and safety, we must recognize such ruses whenever and wherever they appear— in newspapers, television, or in the actions (and inactions) of the police and Border Agency.  Just as we fight against the lowering of our conditions and the reality of flexible labour, we demand justice for workers and people on the margins in the shadows of racist and imperialist Britain.

End press collusion with the UKBA! No scapegoating of migrants and asylum seekers! Decent jobs for all!

Monday 29 April 2013

Where's the Humanity? - Report of 'Against Racism' by Katie Bales

The below report of TCAR's recent public meeting 'Against Racism' was written by Northumbria Uni Law student Katie Bales along with Raul Ally, and first published on the Northumbria Law Blog

Where’s the Humanity?

February 14, 2013
Katie Bales and Raul Ally

On Saturday the 26th January I attended a meeting organised by Tyneside Community Action Against Racism (TCAR). The day was organised by activists to highlight some of the pressing issues within the asylum regime. This blog will reiterate some of the concerns raised, in the hope that it will shed further light on an asylum system shamelessly focused on reducing immigration rather than providing sanctuary and meeting the needs of asylum seekers.


The speakers included Tom Vickers, Frances Webber, John Grayson and Raul Ally.

Tom’s speech ‘Racism and Politics in British State Welfare’ focused on the pitiful support that asylum seekers receive whilst they are in the UK and the racism which pervades the history of welfare provision and remains to this day. His speech can be accessed via his blog, consequently it will not be reiterated here.
I had the pleasure of reading Frances Webber’s book ‘Borderline Justice‘, which gives a comprehensive account of various aspects of the asylum system such as welfare, housing, detention, border control and access to justice. Her inspired speech gave a general overview of the developments in the legal system and the role of asylum seekers, community, lawyers and judges in fighting for a more humane asylum system, reiterating the importance of activism and community support. A video of her speech can be viewed by clicking the link.

The remainder of this blog is co-written by Raul Ally, who explains his profoundly moving experience of detention in the UK. He has also included a video link documenting his experience of seeking asylum
Before examining the deplorable practice of detention in the UK, the blog will examine discussion by John Grayson and the transfer of asylum seeker housing from the UK Border Agency to the privatised company G4S.

Privatised Housing and the shameless disregard for humanity:
Asylum seeker housing in the UK is now 100% outsourced to three multi-national security companies: Clearel (London and the South of England); Serco (North-West and Scotland & Northern Ireland); and G4S (North-East, Yorkshire & Humberside and the Midlands & East of England), who earn millions of pounds through securing provision. These companies cut costs by purchasing sub standard properties and letting them to asylum seekers who are left with little or no other options. Their blatant disregard for the standards of housing provided, the needs of asylum seekers and the suitability of areas of accommodation continue to place asylum seekers in precarious positions where their rights are frequently infringed.
G4S were granted 211million pounds for the seven year asylum housing contract. The company recently hit the headlines for botching security at the London Olympic Games, and more seriously for the death of Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010. Mubenga died after being restrained by G4S guards on a British Airways flight in an attempt to deport him to Angola, he was heard repeatedly shouting ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘they’re going to kill me’ by fellow passengers and British Airways Crew.

In December 2012, G4S evicted a heavily pregnant asylum seeker from her home on the day she was due to be induced to give birth, expecting her to move all her belongings, register as homeless and travel to hospital herself. The woman was aided by one worker who took pity on her and gave her a lift to hospital.
The standards of housing provided by G4S are described by Grayson as appalling. In one case, a mother who had been housed in what Grayson describes as a ‘slum’, found a cockroach in her five month old son’s milk bottle. Her accommodation was damp and infested by slugs and cockroaches, the back yard was littered with piles of rubbish from previous tenants and the landlord had screwed cockroach traps to the walls, one of which was placed close to her son’s cot. Unlike national citizens who have tenant’s rights, asylum seekers were stripped of such rights via the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Despite this, the Government still have an obligation to provide asylum seekers with an adequate standard of living and physical and mental health via Article 11(1) and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

They also have a national obligation to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, which they are bound to consider via Section 55 Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, evidence suggests that the Government is failing to adhere to these obligations.
A recent parliamentary inquiry into the experiences of children within the asylum system found that in relation to housing, “families are living in poorly maintained, overcrowded accommodation which can be damp, dirty, cold and unsafe; infested with mice, cockroaches and other pests, rotting floorboards and locked windows. One submission characterized this as ‘death trap’ accommodation” noting there is little obligation upon housing providers to ensure high quality or appropriate accommodation. During the inquiry, one local authority affirmed that properties issued by private firms “are less well maintained and sometimes lack basic facilities needed for families with young children, such as washing machines. Children and parents have to share bedrooms, or live in flats and hostels with strangers, sharing communal areas.” The accountability of housing standards is thus a major concern.

Racist incidents have also been disregarded by G4S in their selection of accommodation areas, often housing asylum seekers in rough and notoriously racist areas. Grayson discussed the plight of an asylum seeking journalist from Iraq who was dispersed to a G4S property in Stockton in October 2012. On arrival the applicant and four other asylum seekers were overwhelmed by a crowd hurling racist abuse, who proceeded to break down the door and windows to their accommodation before being removed by police. The landlord repaired the door but refused to repair the windows, declining to move the asylum seekers to more appropriate accommodation. The police also refused to register the attack as racially motivated. In fear of reprisals the other four asylum seekers left the property, yet in doing so they also lost qualification for support.

The failure to return or subside at an authorised address constitutes a reason for the discontinuation of financial support to asylum seekers, who are also prevented from working. (See SI 2000/704 and Policy Bulletin 17, Failure to Travel)

Abandonment of address for reasons of racial harassment is classified as a reasonable excuse. In considering whether to discontinue support in these circumstances adjudicators must take into account the nature, degree, frequency, persistence and organisation of the harassment, as well as the effect it has on the asylum seeker and whether police have been informed and taken action. ‘The ‘sufficiency of protection’ test of refugee status itself has even been applied to deciding whether a refusal to return to the site of previous racist harassment was reasonable in the light of the police response. These decisions suggest that there is such a thing as an acceptable level of racial harassment (or a level of harassment which asylum seekers must accept).” (Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice 2010, page1104)
Though some asylum seekers are active in their fight for humane and dignified treatment, some are afraid to speak out, worried of the impact it could have on their asylum application. Consequently hundreds of asylum seekers continue to live in squalor and allow racist incidents to go unreported, choosing to remain at home rather than risk racial abuse outside.

Detention: A punitive response to seeking asylum?
Though immigration detention is claimed not to be a form of punishment, Morton Hall detention centre, where Raul was recently held used to be a female prison. At the TCAR meeting Raul described being locked in a cell intermittently during the day and released for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The centre placed restrictions on internet access, which prevented Raul from accessing websites to aid his asylum claim and he claims that staff would intercept his post. Raul reported that the majority of detainees were depressed, one of whom he witnessed stabbing himself with a fork in the dining hall through fear of deportation.
Though asylum seekers have committed no crime, once detained, they are imprisoned and unable to leave. Whereas criminals are imprisoned for a fixed amount of time, there is no time limit placed on immigration detention and no requirement to inform detainees of how long they will be incarcerated. The imprisonment of asylum seekers in the UK has led to countless riots, hunger strikes and suicides.

The National Clinical Director for Health and Criminal Justice at the Department of Health has affirmed that ‘custody causes mental distress and acts to exacerbate existing mental health problems, heighten vulnerability and increase the risk of self-harm and suicide.’ The following case study has been taken from a blog written by Clare Sambrook and provides an insight into the realities of immigration detention and deportation:
“When immigration officers called at his home in Leeds for a ‘pastoral visit’, the man was open and friendly. He let them in, offered them a seat, a cup of coffee, told them of his depression, showed them his medication. The very next day a dozen officers arrived at dawn and broke down his door with a battering ram — (an “absolutely routine pick-up”, they called it). The man and his 13 year old son woke up to find an immigration officer and a police officer in their attic bedroom. They were told to dress and pack, told they’d be flown the following morning to Angola — a country where, the man said, his mother, father and sister had been killed by the authorities.

On the drive to the removal centre — Yarl’s Wood, in Bedfordshire — escort staff from private contractors G4S confiscated a coil of washing line from his bag. At Yarl’s Wood they said he could not keep his medication or the washing line with him, but nobody noted any indication of risk of self-harm in his file. He was found hanged in a Yarl’s Wood stairwell at around 1 AM the next morning. His son was woken up and told the news. The man was Manuel Bravo. He was 35 years old. The circumstances of his death were recorded, with some compassion, by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Stephen Shaw in January 2006.”

At the TCAR event Raul spoke of the profound impact detention had had on him, stating ‘I may seem ok on the outside, but really I am not.’

Raul’s account:
On the 24th of June 2012 I was arrested and held in North Shields police station for 3 days. I was released 3 hours before my prom, I was arrested without committing any crime or doing anything wrong and ordered to sign on (at an immigration centre) every week.

It was Wednesday the 1st of August and I was meant to be watching an Olympic football match between Brazil and Australia, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it because I was rearrested by the UKBA and taken to Morton Hall detention centre in Lincolnshire where I was detained for over 2 months.
My experience in Morton hall has to be the worst experience I have had in Britain. I first arrived there thinking there would only be a few of us, but I was shocked to see how many people were held there, people from all different countries with different circumstances. I expected to see only asylum seekers but there were people being detained for no specific reason which was very sad to see. There were people with major illnesses such as heart disease, people who were blind, those suffering mental illness and people without limbs. It was sad spending time with them, sometimes I wished that they could be released and I remained in there because they didn’t deserve to be held in those conditions.

The staff in Morton Hall were very harsh, I heard one with my own ears saying that they had the hardest job working in a detention centre as we (asylum seekers) were the worst criminals. They treated people like animals, I saw one detainee being forced to move, they strangled and cuffed him, the guy couldn’t even breathe properly and shouted that they were killing him, it was very sad to watch. The nurses lie and say whatever is necessary so people can be deported, there was a Vietnamese person who had heart problems and couldn’t even go to the dining hall to get his food, yet the nurses signed that he was fit to be deported, and they only supply you with pain killers as medication.

The immigration rules say that the maximum someone should be held in detention is 3 months, but some of my friends were held for up to 6 years, some people have even been deported to wrong destinations, just so they can get rid of them. There were a few Somalis who pooed in the plane because they were taken to unknown countries and they used fake documents to deport them. It was hell being in a detention centre, and it hurts me to see people being treated like this. God’s world has no borders. Shut down detention centres!

By Raul Ally

A video documenting Raul’s asylum journey can be viewed at:

Thursday 25 April 2013

Raul Ally was deported last night - the Tanzanian government did not accept him - we are awaiting more information

Raul Ally was deported yesterday evening without warning, without his family and friends being notified, without removal details. This was hours after UKBA asked Raul if he would be able to make his own way back to Newcastle, suggesting he would be released soon. And after family visits for Saturday and an appointment with a solicitor for today had been arranged

After 14 days of being on hunger strike and in a weakened state, a member of staff from Colnbrook entered the room and told Raul it was ‘time to go home, time to go back to Tanzania.’ Raul is not from Tanzania and has no connection to it. Shortly after this, 15 hired goons from private security firm Tascor (formerly Reliance and now owned by Capita) entered the room and forcibly carried Raul to the plane.

He was the first person on the plane and they bundled him into the staff room so that any protest he made would not be seen by passengers. Surely the pilot must have known about this treatment and the kidnap of Raul but allowed it to continue. We currently don’t know which airline it was that took him – but will find out and publicise the information.

Raul was taken to Tanzania but the government refused to take him because he is not Tanzanian. We are waiting to find out where he is now and what will happen next. We will keep the blog updated so check back for more information later tonight and tomorrow.

Raul’s family would like to thank everyone for their hard work. We will keep fighting.