While being held in Colnbrook immigration prison Raul has been refused proper medical attention. He has demanded to see a doctor to get health checks during his hunger strike but has been repeatedly refused. When supporters rang the healthcare unit in the prison, they were told that a doctor sees all detainees every morning – this is a lie. Raul saw a nurse three days ago and it wasn’t until supporters put pressure on Colnbrook and chased up his MP to do the same that a doctor eventually saw him. Callers to the prison were repeatedly told by staff that ‘there is no problem’ as Raul was not being ‘treated differently from anyone else here’. Unfortunately, that is the problem.
On 17th April, Raul was taken to Heathrow Airport in a van by Tascor private security firm. Tascor are hired by UKBA to ‘escort’ detainees from immigration prisons to the airport. They are the largest private sector provider of this ‘service’ worldwide. Four Tascor men (Mr James Clark, Mr Simon Duke, Mr Gavin Coblem, and one other who went by the name of Matt) tried to get Raul out of the van to bundle him on the flight, deport and dump him in Tanzania. Raul, despite being on hunger strike for 7 days and in a weak condition, courageously held on to the seat in the van as the four racist thugs attempted to drag him out, they cuffed one of his hands, he continued to struggle, wrapping his legs around part of the van, they then used their fingers to put heavy pressure on his throat and eventually got his other hand cuffed and took him to the plane, leaving his arms cut. His hands are now numb from the cuffs. They sat him at the back of the plane, still in handcuffs, one guard either side and two in front, the boss of the Tascor mob staring back at Raul in an attempt to keep him quiet. He asked for water but they refused to give him any. Raul did not succumb to this torture or intimidation and found the energy to shout out to the passengers for help. Passengers were concerned and complained to the staff. They asked what was happening and the security officers told them ‘It’s alright, he is just being removed’. An air stewardess came over to see what was happening. Raul said to her ‘You are a witness to this, they are torturing me.’ She spoke to the pilot who came over and said he was refusing to take Raul on the flight and he should be taken off. Raul was taken off the plane and is currently being held back in Colnbrook.
Raul's assailants claimed that Raul had been biting them and they were going to issue a complaint. The boss, at another failed attempt of intimidation, while angrily pointing his finger into Raul’s chest, said ‘This is personal, I’m being serious, if I see anything about what happened or my name in the paper I’m going to sue you.’ Raul looked him in the eye and said ‘I am being serious too.’
Raul is determined to fight and has stated he will remain on hunger strike until he is back in Newcastle.
Tyneside Community Action Against Racism and supporters of Raul bombarded Kenya Airlines with phone calls to demand they did not take him. From the volume of calls they received they took the phones off line until after 8pm (when the flight had left). Prior to this one of their staff told callers that the Home Office had cancelled Raul’s seat on the flight so there was no need for people to keep ringing in. This was a complete lie and further underlines the complicity of companies such as Kenya Airways in carrying out deportations.
Raul thanks everyone for their help. We need to continue the fight against Britain’s racist immigration laws. Keep checking the blog for updates and ways you can get involved.
Shut down all immigration prisons! No deportations! FREE! FREE! RAUL ALLY!