Home Africa News Christopher arrived here aged 7. Tomorrow he’ll be deported to Zimbabwe. This...

Christopher arrived here aged 7. Tomorrow he’ll be deported to Zimbabwe. This is his story

1813
0

Londoners being deported to Zimbabwe in a matter of days who are currently held in a Gatwick removal centre claim they have been told to self-isolate for 10 days.

It is unclear whether the alleged outbreak of Covid at the centre near Gatwick Airport will prevent the detainees from boarding the flight scheduled on Wednesday (July 21)

When My London contacted the Home Office a spokesperson said they do not comment on operational matters..

Some Londoners were released from detention while others are appealing for legal assistance through activist charity BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts), as they fight to remain in the country.

A Zimbabwean government opposition member for MDC – Janetry Muranganwa – still remains in Brook House Immigration Removal Centre and fears for his life, along with a semi professional footballer who arrived in the UK aged seven, who has no recollection of his birth country where he’ll be deported to.

Kate Middleton and Prince William’s unusual bedroom set up with IKEA furniture at Kensington Palace
2

Driving bare foot, in sandals or flip flops could cost you £5,000
3

EastEnders’ Moon brothers have reunited 9 years after leaving Albert Square
He now worries for his future and his health as the 26-year-old and MDC member Janetry claim they were told by guards the centre now has two Covid cases.

Janetry claims he is currently fighting a fever in the detention centre and that three quarters of the detainees are on hunger strike.

The Covid outbreak could put those involved in the deportation process at risk, as well Zimbabwean citizens upon their arrival.

Christopher said: “There’s one person on my wing isolating for Covid. They’re saying we have to isolate for 10 days. We can’t move in and out of the wing.

“I don’t know what that means for the flight.”

He was serving time in prison after being convicted of GBH and drugs possession and was required to attend the immigration reporting office once a month but on June 28 he was told without warning that his removal from the United Kingdom was imminent.

Christopher said: “I was served with deportation orders because I committed a crime in 2015.

“They took me and said you’ve been detained and your removal from the United Kingdom is imminent.

“Then they placed me in a detention cell in the reporting office with four guards saying you can’t leave.”

Due to not having British citizenship or naturalised status, the aspiring footballer’s paperwork was not completed as a child and therefore he is being considered for deportation.

Christopher said: “I just got left by the system and to my own devices.”

Christopher’s mum, Mildred, 57, says her son was a hardworking student who always wanted to be a footballer. She keeps photographs of his matches where he played for Staines Town on her wall.

Christopher will be leaving behind his entire family as he knows no one in Zimbabwe (Image: Christopher Arundel)
The 57 year-old said: “He was offered a position in football. He worked his damndest at school, playing football and stuff like that. He wanted to be a footballer.”

Unable to get a job due to his immigration status Christopher started looking for money in the wrong places.

The ex-offender said: “When I turned 18, I wasn’t allowed to work or study and kind of got frustrated with that and ended up associating with wrong people.”

The Gatwick detainee began doing voluntary work as part of his rehabilitation after prison.

The 26 year-old said: “I was involved in voluntary work in my community. We were waiting on the [criminal] licence to finish so that we could put in the last pieces of paperwork to get naturalised.

“My licence would have finished in October, they’ve got me now in detention two months before that was about to happen and served me.”

Christopher’s mum has been left devastated by his sudden deportation and she also worries for her son’s mental health.

Mildred said: “It’s killing me, I spent the whole day in tears. It’s like the whole thing from the get go is just so sad. Its hard for me to accept it.

“The fact that they detained him they don’t even know if that person is well or not, and Christopher wasn’t well.

“He went to the reporting office with his medication [antibiotics for a tooth infection], they just detained him like that.

“He had to see the nurse when he arrived. They don’t even give you notification, they just do that, it’s not ok.

“When you think about it, if they ask prison to rehabilitate, when is it ever enough, when they come out of prison and they’re still being asked to do that.

“It’s like throwing a grain of sand into the ocean, once he gets there who will pick him up from the airport.”

Christopher faces being destitute when he is dropped off at an airport in Zimbabwe (Image: Air Zimbabwe A320 Z-WPM at JNB)
Christopher says he finds himself being treated like a prisoner even though he served his full sentence, and claims he has had no help for his anxiety and PTSD which developed during his sentence.

The detainee said: “Since I left prison I was diagnosed with anxiety and stress disorder. I was seeing mental health charity’s after completing my probation work.

“Now I have no support for my mental health.”

The Home Office said that all detainees are screened by a nurse and may be referred for mental health support depending on the assessment outcome, but Christopher claims he has not been spoken to about his mental health.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Foreign criminals who abuse our hospitality should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them.

“Any foreign national who is convicted of a crime and given a prison sentence is considered for deportation at the earliest opportunity, and since January 2019 we have removed 7,495 foreign national offenders.”

The Home Office is deporting Londoners of Zimbabwean descent on July 21 (Image: Policy Exchange)
A spokesperson for activist charity BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts) said: “Christopher does not deserve to be deported. His family had to flee persecution in Zimbabwe.

“They have made the UK home and his siblings are all British”.

The campaigners launched a petition to help Christopher and all those being detained at Gatwick which you can view here .

The 26-year-old hopes to stay with his family and fulfil his dreams of playing football.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here