Britain 'deports Iraqi refugees'

Refugee group says 39 asylum seekers have been deported to Baghdad.

    Iraq is still beset by security problems with suicide bombings occurring regularly [EPA]

    'Malicious step'

    Previously, Iraqi deportees from Britain have been flown into the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, which has not seen the level of violence experienced in other parts of the country.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera from London, Richard Whittel, from the Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq, said: "People were woken up at the dead of night last night and put on coaches from detention centres and then taken to Stansted airport.

    "We think they've been put on a plane operated by Air Italy and thought to have been taken to Baghdad.

    "The Home Office [UK interior ministry] argument would be that Iraq is now safe to send people back to, people aren't at risk, and people's asylum applications have failed.

    "We're used to the macabre immigration policies of the UK government, and indeed other European governments, but this is an especially malicious step sending people to Baghdad."

    A spokesperson for the UK border agency, which is alleged to have issued letters to the refugees about deportation, said on Wednesday they could not comment on the "timing or detail of removal operations".

    But it added: "Anyone who is in the UK illegally is expected to leave and the UK Border Agency will not hesitate to enforce their removal where necessary.

    Hussein, one of the Iraqis said to be facing deportation, told the Ifir he could be killed if he returned to his homeland.

    "I'm from Baghdad. I'm a Sunni - I have a big problem with a Shia party. They've used their influence to imprison my brother and they're looking for me.

    "If I'm deported I know 100 per cent I'm going to be killed."

    According to Britain's interior ministry, 632 people were deported to northern Iraq between 2005 and 2008.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Life after death row: The pastor praying for Nigeria's prisoners

    The Nigerian pastor adapting to life after death row

    Clinton Kanu spent 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, but life on the outside feels far from free.

    What it means to love a dead child

    What it means to love a dead child

    You must forget all you thought you knew about grief when the landscape of your life has been demolished.

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but Europeans still bring their daughters to underground clinics there to be cut.