PRESS RELEASE

2 June 2010

Iraqi refugees given tickets for deportation flight to Baghdad for Wednesday 9th June

More than 100 Iraqis have been detained in London detention centres, some of whom have been given removal directions to Iraq by the UK Border Agency for Wednesday 9th June at 5.00am.

‘Ali', who was arrested and detained in Colnbrook last week says:

'Why have they arrested me again? I've been living here and I have a child here.  Baghdad's not safe for anyone and especially not for me as I'm Kurdish. I don't even speak Arabic.'

After the last flight to Baghdad in October, when ten people were deported to Baghdad and the thirty-three others on the plane were sent back by the Iraqi authorities, an Iraqi Government spokesman said the Iraqi Government was against the UK government forcing people back to the country, but detainees in Colnbrook were interviewed yesterday by Iraqi men they were told were from the Iraqi Embassy. However the Iraqi Embassy has told the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees they do not know anything about it.  Today the same people visited Brook house near Gatwick airport.

Arevan Mohammed, from Kirkuk, told the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees he had been threatened by

‘On Wednesday 2nd June I had an interview in Brook House IRC at 11:20 approximately. The immigration officer called Martin Smith from UKBA told me that I was not allowed to bring my legal representative with me as this meeting was totally private.  After a few minutes talking with him he allowed me to make a contact with my solicitor to tell him about this interview.  However I went to see the Iraqi officials.

They came to interview me.  They spoke to me in Arabic but I started speaking in English as I told them we were living in UK and every one speaks English here.  If you can’t then your interpreter should interpret to you.  I asked them, ‘who are you? ...They said they were from the Iraqi embassy.  I told them that before I came to this interview I called the Iraqi Embassy and they informed me that they were not in Brook House for interviews. Then I asked them again, ‘please tell me who are you?’ They replied they had come from Iraq working with UKBA as ambassadors for them. He asked me, ‘what is your name’?  I said my name is Arevan Mohammed but I want to see your ID to prove what you are saying.  He said where do you live?   Do you think we came from street to interview you?  I said I am from Kirkuk and that there are many people who were from the street and who are now in the new Iraqi Government.  He became so angry and shouted at me with a loud voice saying "go out and see what I’m going to do with you and where I’ll put you by the time you come back’

He terminated the interview and asked for security to arrest me and take me out but UKBA has not make any arrest order on me so they have released me straight away.  I have contacted my solicitors and Iraqi embassy in London about the threat that I am facing now.  I am really worried and fear for my life now.  Even in the UK I don’t feel secure any more.’

Dashty Jamal from the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees says:

‘This is another tactic by the UK Government and the Iraqi government to legitimise their deportation police.  The Liberal Democrats promised to sort out the problem of refugees but now they are supporting this inhuman policy and are working with the tribal, religious and nationalist militia groups in Iraqi to play with lives of innocent people who tried to escape from the killings, massacres, sectarian violence and war but are now threatened with forcible deportation.  The.UK government must stop this policy.  If the UK Government wants to stop people fleeing from Iraq then they need to support a form of Iraqi government that is secular and can guarantee equal citizen rights for all regardless of their nationality and religion, not one which is based on sectarianism.

There is a demonstration against deportations this Saturday at 2pm outside Parliament.  Groups attending include International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, Kurdish and Turkish Community Centre, Kurdistan National Congress, International Organisation of Iranian Refugees (No Border), Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq, London Coalition Against Poverty, Campaign Against Immigration Controls, Cameroon Support Network, South Asia Solidarity Group

(Ends)

Contact: 07856032991, 07824 996724

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Notes for editors

1. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees campaigns for the rights of Iraqi refugees and against forcible deportations and detention.  The Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq campaigns against the forcible deportation and detention of Iraqi refugees.

2. The flight will be the first to Iraq since the 14th October, when ten people were deported to Baghdad and the thirty-three others on the plane were sent back by the Iraqi authorities.

See www.csdiraq.com for more information

3. At least four million Iraqis have been forced to flee either to another part of Iraq or abroad since the war began in 2003

4. According to Home Office figures, 632 people were forcibly deported to the KRG region in the north between 2005 and 2008. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees estimates that the figure, with the monthly charter flights deporting 50 people at a time since the beginning of 2009, currently stands at approximately 900.