- Created: Thursday, 17 May 2018 09:17
- Written by Anthony Rupert
On Sunday 13 May, Ali Nur was forcibly deported to Tanzania via Kenya. This was the second attempt to remove him. An earlier attempt, on 4 May, was abandoned after Kenya Airways was inundated with calls, tweets and emails from friends and supporters, and after supporters of Goldsmiths Anti-Imperialist Society and the Revolutionary Communist Group then staged a protest in the airport.i
Ali was snatched from Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre at around 5pm. His phone was taken away by guards, so he could not mobilise his supporters. The Home Office purposefully carried out the abduction on a Sunday, when they knew solicitors would be hard to reach.
By 5:30pm, just one hour before the flight time, a Home Office guard used Ali’s phone to ring one of Ali’s supporters and when confronted as to why they had the phone, said they were taking Ali ‘in a vehicle for removal’. When asked if we could speak to Ali they said ‘only in English’ and that Ali could not have his phone ‘because of all the trouble we caused’, referring to the protest which had previously prevented Ali’s deportation.
Around 10 guards, employed by Home Office private security contractor Mitie, dragged Ali to Heathrow terminal 4, Kenya Airways, where they forced him on to flight KQ101 to Tanzania via Kenya. Before Ali was put on the plane, officers warned passengers that ‘a criminal’ would be put on board and that he was going to make a lot of noise.
Despite all this, Ali resisted the boarding, holding the plane’s departure up for over one hour. Ali’s resistance was met with an assault by the Mitie guards, who brutalised him, gouging his eyes and smashing his body. Supporters bombarded Kenya Airways with calls but, this time, were unsuccessful, as the flight took off. Mitie guards held Ali down on the flight all the way through to Tanzania.
Mitie’s ‘escorting’ contract with the Home Office is worth an estimated £525 million. It took over the contract in December from Tascor, a subsidiary of Capita. Tascor, in turn, had superseded G4S in 2011. All these companies have a history of brutality against detainees and deportees; in 2010 Jimmy Mubenga died while being forcibly deported to Angola by G4S guards, resulting in a coroner ruling in he had been ‘unlawfully killed’.ii
In Tanzania, the guards dumped Ali with immigration officials, without handing over any ID or paperwork - despite Ali having been deported to there on the basis he was a ‘Tanzanian national’ named Abdillahi Ali Juma. This infuriated Tanzanian officials who complained he was not a national of the country and should not be there after being in Britain for 20 years.
After an interrogation, Ali was then subject to a violent beating in the back of a van by Tanzanian immigration officers, leaving his head swollen and arm nearly broken. Tanzanian police then flew Ali to Zanzibar (a semi-autonomous island off Tanzania) where he was held for a number of hours in a prison and beaten for the third time in one day. He was threatened with being taken to an electric chair on the mainland and his body dumped in the sea.
This is Theresa May’s so-called ‘hostile environment’ in action. It cannot be tolerated any longer. We must stand up and fight. We demand justice for Ali and all victims of Britain’s racist immigration laws.
ii For further information see https://corporatewatch.org/mitie-wins-deportation-escorting-contract/