The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) has set out a formal complaint against the actions of the UK Border Agency with regard to its treatment of asylum seekers threatened with removal to Rwanda. The Federation has asked that this matter be investigated by the European Court of Human Rights.
At the centre of the complaint is the treatment of Mr Rasti Mohammadi, a 26 year old Kurd with Iraqi nationality who had been informed that the Border Agency intended to deport him on the planned flight to Rwanda despite having made an application for protection as a refugee in the UK.
Mr Mohammadi had been detained by the Agency after making his application for asylum. Separated from other asylum seekers for a period of five days, he was eventually confronted by detention centre officers who told him that he had been selected to be placed on the plane that was scheduled to depart for Rwanda on the 14 June.
The officers told him that there was a risk of getting malaria and other diseases in Rwanda and for that reason he was given some pills to take as medication. He was told that on arrival he would not be able to get medical attention or get funds for medical treatments. In the complaint to the European Court he states, “I was petrified and thinking what is going to happen to me there! I am going to die there is that my death penalty!”
His ordeal lasted to the point of the day of the planned deportation, when he was placed in handcuffs and taken in a security van with police car and motorcycle escorts and taken to the airport. Placed on the plane he states that. “I was so scared and terrified as what have I done to be treated that way, I have suffered enough from the hand of smugglers on my way to the UK.”
After being placed on the plane he became aware that the deportation directions of his fellow detainees were being cancelled. He felt that hie was the only person being subjected to this treatment , that he was alone and that he was going to die.
He became the last of the detainees to have the his planned deportation cancelled and was eventually taken off the plane and returned to the detention centre. He says that the ordeal had caused severe stomach pain. In response to convulsions produced by this pain one of the security officers accompanying him on the flight held him down his neck and two of his colleagues pinned his legs wide open and held his head down with excessive force.
Back in detention he reports that he remains in isolation and still suffers pain and anxiety from his ordeal He has lost weight and is unable to sleep. He gets flashbacks from what the treatment he encountered.
His supporters in IFIR are asking that the European Court of Human rights orders an independently investigation of his treatment, in particular looking at the conduct of the security guards who were responsible for escorting him to the airport. In the event that their complaint is upheld they are asking that charges be brought against the security guards responsible for the assault on Mr Mohammadi.
Please note: the terms ‘removed’ and ‘deported’ tend to be used interchangeably although in Law they have specific meanings. In this post the term ‘deported’ is used to describe a forced removal by the Home Office.
The full text of IFIR’s complaint to the ECHR can be see seen here:
To: European Court of Human Rights -UNHCR in GenevaComplaint against the UK Border Agency regarding abuse allegations from asylum seekers threatened with removal to Rwanda
Date: 21 June 2022
Re: Mr Rasti Mohammadi DOB 21/1/1996, CIDDID:15588435
Dear Sir Madam
We are writing to register a formal complaint against the UK Border Agency with the European Court of Human Rights and UNHCR regarding the assaulting and threatened forced deportation of Kurdish asylum seekers flight to Rwanda on 14 June 2022.
Mr Rasty is one of the Kurdish asylum seekers who has been arrested and detained with many asylum seekers that are being held in Harmondsworth, Colnbrook, and Brook House detention centres with whom have been given planned tickets forcibly deporting them to Rwanda on the 14th June.
Mr Rasty told IFIR” After five days of separating me and other detainees and placing us in different units at the detention centre, some security guards showed up unexpectedly and told me today I am going to put in the plane to Rwanda. I was informed that there is a risk of getting malaria and some other diseases for that reason I was given some pills to take because when I arrive to the destination I won’t be able to get medical attention or get funds for medical treatments. I was petrified and thinking what is going to happen to me there! “I am going to die there is that my death penalty!
They handcuffed me like a criminal and put me in a van with five security guards in the van escorted by a police car and motorbikes to the airport.
I was so scared and terrified as what have I done to be treated that way, I have suffered enough from the hand of smugglers on my way to the UK.
After several hours waiting in the van at the airport still handcuffed I was put on the plane where I realised some of my fellow detainees tickets have been cancelled “I am the only one going I am all alone and I am going to die” crying hysterically. I was in so much pain in my stomach feeling so sick uncontrollably rocking myself back and forth when one of the security hard hold down my neck with force and the other two hold my legs wide open and held my head down with excessive force And I was crying “please let go it hurts so much I am in pain I can’t breathe I am begging you let go off me “screaming in pain and crying.
I am again back to the detention centre after my ticket has been cancelled too but put in isolation because I am considered as high risk
I am still in so much pain from my ordeal. I am extremely anxious I have lost so much weight I can’t eat or sleep “I am so scared to close my eyes I get flashbacks from what I have encountered.
“Please tell them to remove me from isolation I am terrified what if that happens again what if there is women and children would they do the same to them it is so unfair.
International Federation of Iraq Refugees-IFIR asks that:
· This incident is independently investigated and particularly the conduct of the security guards who were responsible for escorting Rasti to the airport.
· We also request a full apology from the UKBA to Rasti Mohammadi and his family.
· Further to this we call on you to ensure that if you up hold this complaint, charges will be brought against the security guard who assaulted Rasti. For your reference please see attached Recorded voice of Rasti Mohammadi.
· In the interim we ask that you request the UKBA stop holding Mr Rasti Mohammadi in isolation and immediately release him from detention.
I am concerned that these detentions and planned removals will be putting people directly at risk, and urge that these actions are urgently halted and the policy reviewed.
We request that the European Court of Human Rights and UNHCR condemn this inhuman treatment and hold countries responsible for failing to respect the spirit and terms of the European Court of Human Rights and Geneva Convention 1951.
We look forward to receiving your reply
General Secretary of International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR)