I’m moving!

Thanks to the popularity of the site and to make things easier to remember, we are moving the website to www.lifeafterdeportation.com

Thank you very much to those of you who have been following the site by email or by signing up to wordpress – we hope you will sign up for updates on the new site! Have a look now at the new site for a new post!

Thanks for your support and please keep following!

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Watching a film about Afghanistan

Hamedullah: The Road Home

I went to Camden to watch a film about someone who was sent back to Afghanistan. When Hamedullah was here, he was happy, but then they sent him back to Afghanistan. He was looking for a place to live first but nobody could help him. Then he was looking for a job but he couldn’t find anything. So he was just walking around in the rain and snow and cold weather. He was filming himself and living in one room on his own in the dark. Even the Red Cross couldn’t help him. Continue reading

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Visiting a detainee in Harmondsworth

Hope_Flickr by Photographic Consortium, Ltd

You know I am out of detention at the moment, but I will tell you about having visitors when I was there because I want people to know about this.

Of course having visitor is good and helpful mentally for us. We are here for a long time and even sometimes I think I forget how it is speaking with people or my friends and when I visit my friends I can feel that I change when they are with me.

Normally when a visitor arrives, the officers call us, but when we don’t pick up our phone they would call our room. Sometimes they come to my room to pick me up.

Sometimes they search us to try to find any stuff with us, but normally they take our phone and sometime they don’t let you take any documents to your visitor. Some people don’t have any visitors and they always spend time with other detainees in the detention centre. Some people were moved here from other parts of the country, like Birmingham, so they are far from their family and friends. When I have a visitor I feel so happy because we talk about something new, but here we just always talk with each other about our problems in the detention centre, so that’s why it’s good to have a visitor.

Laura: The first time you come to Harmondsworth, you have to bring 2 forms of ID. Then they put you on the system and log your fingerprint. You get a wristband and visitor pass and they frisk you to make sure you’re not bringing anything in. There are a lot of things you can’t bring in, but even if you can bring it in, you have to check it in, rather than give it straight to your friend. You can’t bring food or drink, and I couldn’t even take T his class photo because it had him in the picture. 

You have to go through 3 secure doors to get to the visitors’ room. Then they log your visit and go and find the detainee. I have waited up to 40 minutes sometimes for them to find and bring him! There is a vending machine in the room, but detainees don’t have cash, so if you visit someone, make sure you bring £1 coins. There’s also a TV and a play area for kids. 

The first time I went, I was really upset afterwards, because the place is so much like a prison. But at least you can sit with your friend and stay as long as you like (between 2pm – 9pm.) The officers leave you alone, but they do watch you on the CCTV cameras. Sometimes it gets really busy. This Sunday I went, and at 6pm when I left, there were about 20 people queueing to be checked in. 

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‘your case has been refused, so we are sending you back’

Flickr by_Brad Stabler

Now I am out of the detention centre, I have to report to Immigration every two weeks. Immigration wants to know I am still here. I have to go to Eaton House out near Heathrow. I have to be there between 10-11. When I have to sign it reminds me of the detention centre and everything about that time. Every time I go there, they check my pockets at security and then we take a ticket and wait. Sometimes I wait 20 minutes and that 20 minutes makes me more and more worried because I don’t know what’s going to happen. They might take me back to the detention centre at any time. There are always a lot of people but no-one talks, they are all thinking about their case and what’s going to happen to them. Continue reading

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I’m free! (for now)

I have been released. It just happened, I didn’t even know that it would happen. My solicitor did the application for bail, and I was hoping to get a bail date the next week, but it  just happened the next day. It wasn’t through bail, I think it was just they got bored of me! Trust me, I don’t know what happened or why the released me. Even my solicitor didn’t know why they released me.

They called me in from my room, and I went there but I didn’t know why they asked me to come to the office. The manager was in the officer and I thought there was some trouble for me. They said ‘take this seriously.’ I was scared and I thought ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’ But they just said ‘ you have been released.’ The manager was on the phone to the  Home Office and he told them that I didn’t believe that I was being released! Then they told me to pick up my things and go.

When I got out, I called my friend and asked him to quickly show me how to get the bus, because I thought they might call me back!

Now I have got my house back and I am going to college. I feel so happy because it’s better than the deportation centre. I can go anywhere I want. Now I am waiting for the High Court to give me a date for my appeal. I hope they don’t refuse me because I really don’t want to go back to detention.

Before, one of the officers told me that sometimes they release people because they have a lot of visitors. At first I didn’t believe him, but then someone else told me the same thing, so maybe it’s true.

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Meet the officers!

Some officers are not good with us here and we feel that they are racist with us.

There are 2 different type of officers here, some of them are really helpful and you feel that they are here to help detainees but some of them are opposite of first group. I don’t know why they are here they just walk around and they don’t help anyone, even if you ask them to send a fax to our solicitor they tell us “ok wait outside the office for a moment,” but that moment would be a long time like half an hour. Every day we have arguments with some officers in the meal queues. Sometimes those officers are really rude to us. For example one lady told my friend he hadn’t filled in his meal request form so he couldn’t have the meal he wanted. But I know he filled it in, because I helped him do it! Continue reading

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prison break_Flickr by discola

Do you believe what happened last week – one of my friends got lost and 20 officers were looking for him! The officers always check our names on a list twice a day – at 6am and at 9.30pm. At 9.30pm they looked in my friend’s room but he wasn’t there. They were worried because he got lost. So 20 officers were looking all around the building. They had a paper with his picture on it and they were looking for 2 hours! They looked in the bathroom opposite my bedroom and they didn’t find him, but 2 hours later when they looked there again, they found him locked inside.

He was trying to do suicide and hurting himself and crying a lot and a lot. The officers took him somewhere else. I don’t know were they took him. The officers were SO angry. I asked an officer if I could use the microwave to heat up my food and he shouted at me “No, go away!” because he was so angry.

I don’t know what happened to my friend now. He is a cool guy from an African country, I’m not sure which one. I was with him in the morning and he was ok, but later he got upset.

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Feeding the birds

do not feed the pigeons_Flickr bygelle_dk

I have been in trouble twice here because they don’t like when I feed the birds! I made my bread into small pieces and put it outside for the birds. In my religion we say if you respect food, then food will come to you and you will not be hungry. We say you can help anyone – humans or even animals. The birds don’t leave any food, so you can see they are hungry! I have enough to eat, but other people in the world don’t. Continue reading

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feeling sick in detention

Look human rights_Flickr by renaissancechambara

I have been ill for a few days. I think I have a cold and my whole body feels tired and heavy … Normally people go to Healthcare and they give an appointment in 2 weeks. 2 weeks! I might be better by then! This time I put my name on the paper but I am still waiting for them to give me an appointment. I can’t buy any medicine here; they just give me paracetamol, but that doesn’t help. I have to take it in the office and they watch me drinking it. It tastes horrible! Even my visitors can’t bring me medicine because that’s not allowed. Continue reading

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Going for Bail – an update on my case

hope. flickr by: edmittance

I’m applying for bail! My solicitor says I have a chance to get bail while I am waiting for my case to be decided. She told me a couple of weeks ago but until now she couldn’t find someone to take the bail case for me. There is no more funding for bail cases, so someone has to do it for me for free.

Now she has found someone to do my bail and I feel happy about that but also I feel normal because if they give me bail maybe it will only be for 2 or 3 months. They maybe they will put me here again and maybe send me back here or to Afghanistan. That happened to some people here – they got bail and they signed for 3 or 4 weeks and then they took them back here to the detention centre (for no reason) and now they are back here. So maybe that will happen to me.

release by Grant McDonald

I want to get bail so I can finish my course and see my friends. If I don’t get it, then I will have to try again because I can’t stay here for much longer, I’m just wasting my time. You know, outside time goes so quickly, but inside the detention centre one minute is so long.

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