Stories from the detainees

I will tell you about some of the people I met here. Lots of them are my friends. We often joke together.

There was an old, old man from Pakistan whose hair and beard were white. He was in F block and was due to be deported on 28th March. He really didn’t want to go back to his country, so he made a pile of things like his trousers and slippers and his Home Office documents and he made a fire. Then he set fire to his legs and stood on the burning things. People tried to push him out of the fire. I was scared and the officers came running to put water on the fire.

2 weeks later I saw him and his legs and hands were all bandaged up and he had two walking sticks. I felt so sorry for that man. He was so sad. He knew he was old and that he couldn’t support his family if he went back to Pakistan. He said it would be better to kill himself here to show people his bad situation. I haven’t seen him again after that.

A Kurdish man aged about 25 cut his legs with a razor. They were deep cuts and there was blood everywhere. He thought that if he cut himself they wouldn’t send him back. They took him to Healthcare. 3 days later he was released! But I’m not sure why.

Another man was a big man from Afghanistan and he has 6 children. He also had a ticket to return and he really didn’t want to go back. He had a lot of proof about his situation in Afghanistan, but still they didn’t believe him. So when his case failed and he saw there was nothing for him here, he said “ok, I will go back to my country.” But when they came for him, he changed his mind and said “no, I don’t want to go.” He  didn’t eat for one week. He put a razor from his shaver in his mouth and cut himself, but there wasn’t too much blood, so they just washed his mouth. He said many bad things, and he threatened to kill himself, so they put him in a small room with no windows and no other people for 2 days.

One man had been in this country for 30 years! He said, “how can they send me back? I AM this country! I MADE this country!”

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Afghans released!

Prison_Flickr by UggBoy♥UggGirl

Last week 3 or 4 people from my country were released.  They and I don’t even know the reason why.  One of my friends had no solicitor because nobody could take his case. Even my solicitor said “sorry T, I can’t take his case.” I know my friend’s situation, there was no chance for him to be released, because there was nothing left for his case. But then on Thursday they gave him a paper and said, “have you got friends or family you can stay with? OK, released.” Just like that! They didn’t say why and he didn’t know why. He said to me “pinch me because maybe I’m dreaming!” Continue reading

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A memory from Afghanistan

hill boy_flickr by_PAPYRARRI

I remember when I was quite small I went to the mountains to collect wood for my mum for the fire. I was holding a stick and there were some goats around me. The mountains were soooo green and beautiful. I collected the sticks but they were wet and when I brought them home, my mum said “don’t bring the wet ones because I can’t burn them on the fire! Please bring the dry ones.”

My country was so beautiful, but trust me, the countryside is not like that now because you know, when a bomb blast hits somewhere, then nothing will grow there after that.

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“…no speak English!”

Be Kind

Be Kind_Flickr by infomatique

I had been stuck in the removal wing for a week after my 6th deportation flight was cancelled. I asked the officers to move me back to the main wing, where there is much more space, but he said they were too busy that day. It’s so boring in F wing: there’s no space, the rooms are small, and there’s no activities or sports.

My teacher called the detention centre and asked them to move me. When they got this message from my teacher, one of the officers came to find me and said ‘why have you been complaining about things here? Why did somebody phone us about you?’ I was really scared of that lady! I didn’t know what to say, so I just looked at her and said “No speak English!”

A few days later, one of my friends asked me to come and help him by translating for him with the officers. I sometimes help people if they speak my language or Urdu if they don’t speak English. I went with him to the office, but there was the officer lady who had been angry with me a few days before! I ran away from the office and said to my friend “I’ll help you another day!”

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Day to day life in detention

Tell me about your room and the day-to-day routines in the detention centre.

Harmondsworth IRC

To be honest with you it is not like a room, it is like a jail or prison, and you can’t imagine how the beds here are. We have a toilet in our room and the shower is outside in another place. Normally two people live there, but they keep moving me – at the moment I am in a bigger room with 3 people. We have a bunk bed and a single bed. There’s a window in the room but it just looks out onto walls and the barbed wire around the fence. Continue reading

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The day I was caught

Met police AGY #3_Flickr by kenjonbro

It was a day like any other day … actually, it was Valentine’s Day, and I was waiting to meet up with someone special in Neasden. Just then, two police officers approached me and asked me about my identity and asked to see my ID card. They searched my pockets and I took out my wallet and cards. They were polite to me and everything seemed fine until they checked my name on a small machine like a card payment machine, connected to their system. Then things changed and they told me that you must go with us to police station for your immigration matter. At that point I was really scared and I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. Continue reading

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Temporary release

Kids out of detention centres_flickr by Stephen Mitchell

My solicitor applied for temporary release for me. I really, really wanted to be released because I get so bored here and I want to finish my college course. Last night I was dreaming that I got released and I dreamt about getting the bus back into London and taking all my stuff with me. I have been in here so long, maybe I have forgotten things about life outside!

They woke me up this morning and I was still in prison. They woke me up from my dream of being released! I waited all day for an answer from immigration. I called my solicitor at 5 o’clock. She said that they didn’t give me temporary release. 😦 I feel sad about that because I was ready to leave this place and I told my friends I was going to leave today or tomorrow.

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I didn’t run away

IRC Harmondsworth

I had my monthly review this week. They decide if I can be temporarily released or if I have to stay here. They gave me a paper with a long list of reasons why they won’t let me leave. ‘Risk of absconding,’ ‘not enough links to family and friends to prevent risk of absconding,’ ‘has attempted to abscond in the past.’ At first I didn’t really understand all the words. But they gave 6 reasons which all mean the same thing! When I saw this, I was upset because I didn’t run away; they blame me that I was running away but the truth is something else.

Continue reading

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A scary start to the day…

IRC

Immigration Removal Centre

I was sleeping in my room and an officer knocked on the door and woke me up, saying, “You have a legal visit.” I searched my mind, but I knew I didn’t have any appointments today. Then fear hit me – maybe they were going to give me another removal date, or put me on the Afghanistan flight at the last minute. My room-mates said “good luck” – they also thought it would be bad news. Continue reading

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Afghan deportation update

art at Harmondsworth IRC

My flight has been cancelled by my solicitor, while she appeals my case. I was so happy when they cancelled my flight. But the flight for my friends was still due to go ahead. The day before the flight they normally take the people to the small F wing to wait for the flight. But this time immigration wanted to take them 3 days before.

My friends were just taken by force from our wing called C and D even though they were happy here. It’s better in C and D than F wing that’s why they didn’t want to go there.  Some men were hiding in the toilets and some in the mosque. Then the officers looked on the CCTV and saw some people hiding in the cinema because it was dark there. They stopped the film and turned the lights on and took the people by force. There were 4 officers to catch one person.  Continue reading

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