"I feel so traumatised after this experience and in constant fear and panic"


A detainee in Yarl’s Wood tells her story of attempted deportation:

I was called from my room at Yarl’s Wood detention centre at 1.30pm (immediately after lunch) and told to pack all my belongings and get ready for my removal and go to the reception.

I went to reception where I was being waited for by a gentleman and woman who checked me out of detention and to the van.  They told me I have to cooperate with them fully in order to make life ok.  Also told me that they would be taking me to Heathrow airport for my departure.

I got to the airport (Heathrow) Terminal 3 at 5.00 o’clock in the afternoon.  My luggage was taken away from me and my phone given back to me after re-checking/searching my luggage.  On my arrival, one of the guards asked me why I was trembling so much and my heart seemed to be beating fast.  I explained to him that I was frightened and in so much fear of everything that was happening to me.  He asked if he should call Immigration and I explain to them, I said yes (I agreed). When the phonecall came through, I asked if I should speak to the Chief Immigration Officer and the lady refused that it would not be possible and I told her that I would not speak to her anything, I only wanted to speak to the Chief Immigration Officer.  I handed back the phone to the guard who spoke to the Immigration lady then finished the call.  After the phonecall, the guard handed me a letter which he said was the final letter from Immigration saying/stating that my asylum claim is finished and that their determination on my case is final. The letter went further to say that I have no legal bar in the UK to stop my removal and the removal directions are still taking place and that I should comply.  As soon as I had finished reading the letter, I received another phonecall from Immigration, at this point, I was feeling very frightened, intimidated and was very scared.

The lady I spoke to said that I could not speak to the Chief Immigration Officer as I had requested but I could speak to her as she was the head of Detainees being Removed.  I asked her if she could spare at least five minutes of her time and I speak to her face to face but she refused saying that she has read my file and all my caseworkers have said that my case is just a lie, am lying and they do not want to know.  I felt very hurt by all these things she was saying and they had said about me.  She went ahead to assure me that I needed to get onto the plane.  She said, anything I say or do now is self-serving correspondence and nothing is going to change their minds. I said to her that all I wanted was for at least one person to understand and have compassion. She didn’t seem to agree and I finished the phonecall. I was shown where to sit and wait and shown the toilets as well.  My flight was for 9.30pm that evening.  I was trembling, scared, was in a state of panic, confused, no one seemed to care or want to listen. I was very very low.

At around 7.30pm, a lady called me out, dressed as an immigration officer, she told me that she was going to assist to check me in and explained to me the procedure.  I told the lady that I didn’t want to go and was in great genuine fear for my life. The lady’s tone of voice changed and assured me that I have and need to go.  She started threatening me that they will give me escorts if I refused to comply with what am being told, she went ahead to say that I should not waste time, she said, Immigration is done with me and do not want to know anymore, she also asked two other gentlemen to come and reassure me that I need to go.  They told me that I had a ‘rebuttal’ letter from UKBA and that was their final say.  I tried to make them understand that I also wanted to seek ‘legal aid’ as I had a private lawyer who I felt didn’t represent me very well. They told me that there is no more legal aid in the UK.  They continued threatening me and reassuring me how I had to get on the plane but I did not give in.  They called Immigration at around 8.15pm to tell them that I had refused and that is when they talked to me again saying that if I had any immigration matters, I should go to the British High Commission in —.  I did not give in.  Immigration told the lady and the three gentlemen to continue talking to me which they did but I stood my ground and told them I was not going anywhere and besides, my girlfriend, I am not leaving her behind, I want to be with her. They told me that they did not care and that was my own problems.  

And they went on and on. At around 8.40pm I heard them calling Immigration that I had refused to comply as they had told me to go back to the waiting room.  I also heard them calling the airline and telling them to unload my two small bags.  They came and told me that the battle is not over as next time, they are going to send me five escorts who would force me back to —.  I kept quiet and they left me.  At around 10.00pm that evening, they brought a van to bring me back to detention and I got to Yarl’s Wood at around 2am that morning as they collected two people on our way back.  They use body language like snapping and hitting the table with fingers when they were threatening me.

I feel so traumatised after this experience and in constant fear and panic.


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