A few days ago we had to indulge in an act of censorship. We received an urgent message from Mr X who previously had a name and a face but who now wanted to retreat into anonymity. He had told us the harrowing tale of the hardship and dangers faced by his family after their deportation to an African country and consented to its publication in the hope that it would help the cases of others undergoing the trauma of removal.
Now he was urging us to remove his story from our website as its ready availability was exposing his family to ‘perpetual intimidations, isolation and hardship’. But he also thanked us for trying to publicize their story.
This man’s bravery had finally been backed into a corner by circumstance. He has now become Mr X.
This confirms the point we were trying to make in our edition about how difficult it is for ‘failed’ asylum seekers to speak out once they have been deported. But it gives no satisfaction to get that confirmation. Mr X, despite having given up all political ambitions, remains in danger and now he must silence his own story. This is the justice of the British asylum system which sent him back.
The other personal story we had told in our Deported! edition has taken a happier twist. John ‘Bosco’ Nyombi had spoken with great candour about the persecutions and beatings he suffered when he was unlawfully deported from Britain to Uganda. As a gay man whose face had been in the Ugandan newspapers he had little option but to lie low.
Fortunately for him, the High Court heard his case in absentia and the judge ruled that his removal was indeed illegal and the authorities were then ordered to bring him back. Not only did he go on to win refugee status but he has recently been awarded £100,000 in compensation which the Home Office must pay for endangering his life by their actions. The money will undoubtedly help, but there has been no apology from the Home Office for their actions. Actions they will no doubt go on to repeat, knowing that the odds of getting caught and penalized (as in this case) are, in normal circumstances, tiny.