A terrified detainee told of his fears he “will die” if he was deported to Jamaica after courts prevented the Home Office from sending some – but not all of those originally due to travel – on a now notorious flight which took off from the UK this morning.
On Monday evening the Court of Appeal ordered the Home Office not to deport people to Jamaica on Tuesday unless they had access to a functioning, non-O2 Sim card on or before 3 February.
But this only covers Heathrow detention centres and not the Brook House detention centre located at Gatwick – where for some detainees the flight is still scheduled to go ahead. which took off for Jamaica early Tuesday morning. A further 25 were due to take the flight, but were removed after a Court of Appeal injunction.
Talking from Brook House at around 8.15pm Monday night, one detainee, Rupert, aged 31, stated “We’ve been locked in our cells since 5.30 this evening.
“They’ve just come around and told us we’re going to be processed for deportation in fifteen minutes.
“If I got to Jamaica, I’ll die – I can’t survive out there.
“I don’t have any family out there, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what’s happening.
“They’re saying that the people at Heathrow did not have access to proper mobile phones which is why they’ve been put on hold – we haven’t had access to proper internet or anything.
“They’ll take my phone off me tonight and I won’t be able to contact anyone”.
An hour later, Rupert’s partner, Andrea, said: “I’m sat here convinced that it’s going to happen just like that my whole life, gone.
“Rupert is scared… panicked is the correct term – just as the rest of the detainees are. Everyone and everything is unsettled with little news from the outside world he’s definitely now feels defeated.”
“Rupert said it sounds like they’re taking people out their cells now.
“But I thought the flight was at 6am”.
It’s understood Rupert was on the flight when it left the UK.
The government has insisted that all those being deported are “serious criminals”, such as rapists, murderers, or drug dealers.
But this is not the case for detainees like Rupert.
He arrived to the UK at the age of 13 in 2002 as a child to join his mother – and was granted indefinite leave to remain in 2009 on the grounds of family ties.
Since living in the UK, he has had three children aged 13, eight, and four, has a partner of 10 years, and acts as a father to 2 step-children – all of which are British nationals.
In 2015, Rupert got into an altercation with another man – who he claims was sexually harassing his step-daughter – and was sentenced to 15 months in prison for ABH, but was released after 7 and a half months.
Rupert was targeted for deportation in 2017 but the Home Office were unsuccessful in this attempt.
However, on Tuesday last week, the Home Office detained Rupert – without warning – and informed him that he was facing deportation again, with a flight scheduled on 11th February.
They claim that Rupert is at high risk of absconding, a high-risk to the public, and does not have sufficient family ties to remain.
However, Rupert has never absconded – always meeting his obligations to sign-on with immigration, his OASIS reports say he is not “high-risk”, and he has several biological children, two step-children, and a partner of ten years – all of which are British nationals.
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