UK accused of ‘fast tracking’ Zim deportation cases
By Alex Bell
The UK government has been accused of fast tracking the deportation cases of
Zimbabwean asylum seekers, in what is being described as active
Two Zim asylum seekers, including one man who remains in detention, told SW
Radio Africa this week that they were arrested and almost deported after
their cases were rushed through the courts.
Trevor Chanetsa, an asylum seeker who has been detained for about two weeks,
spoke to SW Radio Africa on Tuesday, and explained that he was arrested
because his case had been “exhausted.” He said that, despite the likelihood
that he would be in danger if he was returned home, he was threatened with
deportation last week. He said that he only escaped being forced back to
Zimbabwe at the last minute following a legal reprieve.
“But I don’t understand how it happened. It happened so fast. I believe they
(the UK officials) aren’t even looking at individual cases and they are only
targeting people whose passports are about to expire,” Chanetsa said.
The concern about being targeted on the basis of having an almost-expired
passport was further backed up by another Zim asylum seeker, recently
released from detention after he too escaped deportation following last
Frazer Muzondo, a known MDC supporter in the UK, was arrested, detained and
almost deported under similar circumstances to Chanetsa’s last month. He
told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that after his detention, his release was
refused “because my passport was about to expire.”
“I was told that they wanted to fast track the case while I was detained so
that if the ruling on my removal was in their favour, they can use a valid
passport to deport me,” Muzondo said, adding: “They are now targeting people
whose passports will soon expire.”
Muzondo was eventually able to secure his release on bail, explaining that
even the immigration judge who heard the case “queried the merits of them
fast tracking cases like this.”
Regis Manyanya from the Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Network said that this
treatment of Zim asylum seekers was “victimisation,” saying that each asylum
and deportation case is supposed to be viewed on an individual basis.
“They are now dealing with sending people back to a country where they could
be in danger and yet the cases are being fast tracked. This is
victimisation,” Manyanya said.
Chanetsa meanwhile said that the UK was “sending people into the lion’s den”
by deporting them back to Zimbabwe. He explained that the whole experience
has left him feeling traumatised, adding: “I am still in danger because they
might send me back and things are getting worse back home.”
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