Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Unlawful killing of deportee should be a warning to all States

Last week, an inquest jury in the UK returned a verdict of unlawful killing of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan national who died on board a plane at Heathrow airport in October 2010 while being deported from the UK to Angola. He died of positional asphyxia at the hands of G4S security guards, independently contracted by the UK Home Office to effect deportations. The inquest jury held that the G4S officers used unreasonable force when they held Mr Mubenga with his head down, restricting his breathing. Passengers heard Mr Mubenga calling for help and saying that he could not breathe. Passengers told the inquest that Mr Mubenga was crying out: "They're going to kill me." Mr Mubenga was pronounced dead on the plane a short time later. He had been in the UK for sixteen years and leaves a wife and five children.

This is a chilling and disturbing case on a number of levels. The high profile case shows up the dark side of deportation. It is a part of the immigration process we hear and read very little about. By its nature, it is difficult to get information about how deportation is effected and how deportees fare. I recall an Iranian client called me from Iran to tell me how he had been restrained, punched and beaten in the course of his deportation from the UK. Yet there was very little we could do to help him as he was outside of the UK and had no evidence to document what had happened to him.

In the UK, independent contractors such as G4S are brought in to effect deportations. Deportation is the most costly part of the immigration process for any State and sub-contracting its implementation is one way to reduce costs.

But questions are now being asked as to whether such sub-contracting might come at a higher cost. The G4S guards involved in the tragic deportation effort of Mr Mubenga failed to adhere to their own guidelines. Furthermore, the inquest found that the guards would have known that their actions were causing Mr Mubenga harm, even serious harm. During the hearing more sinister details emerged: two of the guards had a string of racist "jokes" on their phone containing what the coroner Karon Monaghan QC described as "very racially offensive material". All this reinforces the need for any necessary deportations to be effected in an appropriate, safe and transparent manner. The tragic case of Mr Mubenga shows that sub-contracting this difficult process out to a third party is not a safe option and can have devastating consequences.

A full briefing on the Mubenga case can be read here:
Rebecca Keatinge
Brophy Solicitors

1 comment:

  1. This information are very important me Thanks for sharing your blog information .I like your blog.
    Immigration Consultants in Panchkula