IRR News has been forwarded two letters from Iraqi asylum seekers who were deported last month on a military flight.
‘My name is Burhan Namiq, I was born on 6 March 1980 and am from Kadamfary in Sulaimanyha city, Kurdistan Iraq. I was deported from the UK in September 2006. Since returning to Kurdistan I have had a heart attack and it’s from my bed in a Kurdish hospital that I write this letter to you.
I sought asylum in the United Kingdom, stayed and lived there without committing any crime for two years. But you did not accept my claim for asylum and determined that I had no right to stay and was therefore subject to being deported.
That decision made me depressed, isolated and forced me to consider suicide. I have tried many different ways at different times to end my life – by trying to kill myself using razor and by eating one box of tissues. These attempts did not work and you kept me in the detention centre until I and others were deported to Kurdistan on 5 September 2006. The treatment in detention and the deportation can only be described as inhuman and humiliating.
Only two days after my removal I was sent to hospital. I had suffered a heart attack due to depression and the treatment I received whilst in your “care”.
I hold the UK government responsible for my life, for what I have experienced and my future and I strongly condemn the UK government for its inhuman treatment of detained asylum seekers.’
To The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees
‘We are a group of former UK asylum seekers. We were recently forcibly deported back to Kurdistan. We had been forced to leave Kurdistan between one and eight years ago because of the political, economic and social situation in Iraqi Kurdistan.
We emigrated to the UK looking for a better life free from political persecution. The British government has justified our forcible deportation by claiming that Iraqi Kurdistan is safe but this is not true. In the last month, the Kurdish authorities have shot at demonstrations against lack of electricity, water and fuel and arrested the organisers of these demonstrations.
We particularly want to draw your attention to the way we were treated in detention centres and the way we were deported.
We were imprisoned for several months, prior to our deportation, in detention centres in single cells without access to newspapers and magazines, leaving us feeling cut off and isolated. On the day of our deportation, we were woken up by several security guards coming into our cells. They forced us out of our rooms; we were not given time to change or put shoes on. We were treated like criminals. We were escorted out of the detention centre, handcuffed and forced onto a coach. Once on the plane, we were given flak jackets and caps to wear. There were two security guards per asylum seeker. We were taken straight to Erbil airport where we were forced onto the tarmac. The plane flew off leaving the Kurdish authorities to pick us up.
We are writing this letter to you in the hope that you can prevent others being treated in the way we were treated. We believe the Home Office broke the Geneva Convention and the European Human Rights Convention by forcibly deporting us. We are relying on you to publicise our stories and to take our complaints forward with the Home Office to ensure the abuse we suffered is investigated. We wish you success in your campaign to stop other Kurdish asylum seekers still in detention from being forcibly deported. Regards,
Balen Sabir, Mahmood M Rashid, Sarkawt Mohammed, Bahadin Abdullah Abdul, Shamal Hama, Karwan Fatah, Makwan Farag Amen, Kawa Ahmad, Burhan Namiq and Muhmod Muhamad Ahmad.’