The reality behind 3 “foreign convicts”

HERE ARE THREE little glimpses of the tragic, human reality behind the furore over these “foreign convicts” who have escaped from Campsfield:

1. THIS IS BY THE WIFE of one of them, who yesterday (and very bravely I think) posted this message on the Oxford Mail web site:

my partner has been held in campsfield house for 3 mnths with no sighn of being either released or deported he has lived in the uk for 16yrs he has 3 children and is an electrician we have a 3 bed semi in coventry and i work full time as a social worker , if you could see that these men are kept in deplorable conditions you would not be surprised at what has happend my partner is a very quiet submissive man who suffers at the hands of these security guards he has now had his mobile phone took off him so that he cant ring me the fire started in the port o cabin that they use as a kitchen to cook for 200 men their are over 100 men on hunger strike in their at the moment my partner is ill but has had no medical help i beleive he will take his own life before long and then he will be just another statistic of the governments innability to improve the mess the immigration department have dreated

Full thread is at: http://www.thisisoxford.co.uk/display.var.1596700.0.update_26_flee_detention_centre.php

2. ONE OF THE SO-CALLED “RINGLEADERS” removed from Campsfield on Sunday is a very fragile Cameroonian torture-survivor. Imprisoning torture-survivors is against the Home Office’s own rules let alone international law; yet it is practised routinely by the Home Office. He telephoned his visitor on Friday, in great fear and anxiety about the unrest developing in the centre. His claims of torture had been dismissed by the Home Office and Removal Directions are set for Friday. However Medical Justice had been called in to examine him, have verified his account of torture, and are mounting a last-minute challenge to his removal. Branding him a troublemaker and moving him to Colnbrook (the prison near Heathrow all detainees dread) looks like an opportunistic ploy to impede any last-minute reprieve and penalise him.

3. THIS AFTERNOON, OUTSIDE THE CENTRE, Carole Angier (Asylum Welcome) and I were able to talk to the occupants of a Group 4 van. For some reason the guards did not stop us. All three had been to Newport for unsuccessful bail applications (and no-one else had been successful that day, either). One of them, from Nigeria, is an actual “foreign criminal”: he had served 7 months in prison for the heinous crime of entering Britain with a false passport. This should not be a crime according to Article 31 of the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees* – so again, if anyone was breaking the law here, it is the British Government. What is more, he requested more than a month ago to be allowed to return to Nigeria – but the authorities will neither remove him nor let him go of his own accord.

YOU WOULD THINK that, if the media were genuinely concerned about safety and the the anxieties of local residents, they would tell them exactly what sort of criminals are at large. It is clearly not too difficult to find out. The fact that the gravest crime mentioned in today’s sensational reports was a single case of burglary suggests that none of the escapees are in fact any more terrifying than the three individuals above.


* Article 13 states: “The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of Article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence.”

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