Socialist Worker

Jimmy Mubenga protest demands justice on anniversary of death during deportation

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2273

Makenda Kambana - Jimmy Mubengas wife - (left) with family and supporters on Wednesdays protest (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Makenda Kambana - Jimmy Mubenga's wife - (left) with family and supporters on Wednesday's protest (Pic: Socialist Worker)

About 50 people held a vigil outside the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Central London on the first anniversary of Jimmy Mubenga's death.

Jimmy, who lived in east London, died after being restrained during a forced deportation carried out by the security firm G4S on a British Airways flight to Angola.

He cried out, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” and “They are going to kill me” for about ten minutes before he passed out.

The protest was held outside the CPS by Southwark Bridge because Jimmy’s family is still waiting for it to consider bringing charges against the three G4S guards arrested in connection with his death. The guards were recently re-bailed until December.

Alida, from Soas Detainee Support Group, was on the vigil. She told Socialist Worker, 'This is a particularly terrible case. But, the restraints used were typical. I visit detainees and I've spoken to people who have had the same done to them since.'

One ex-detainee, originally from Zimbabwe, told Socialist Worker, 'Detention is a horrible process. I've been through it three times. It's like a scar I can never remove. You're not treated like a person, or even a dog. They look on you as a useless thing. As if you're not alive. You have no say in what happens to you.'

Damis Mbuyi, originally from Congo, told Socialist Worker, 'We have to stop the deportations. People are suffering. People even die. But it seems like nobody cares.

'If Jimmy was English perhaps someone would have been punished. But he is African so nobody minds. It's not fair. People should care about others.

'When birds migrate across great distances to come here people look after them. But no one cares about people.'

Emma Ginn, from Medical Justice, who helped organise the protest said, 'We have people here from the Angolan community, ex-detainees from other communities, and organisations that work with detainees. There are some people here from the school where Jimmy's children go.

'It's important to keep up the pressure. We need a full acknowledgement of the causes of Jimmy Mubenga's death and prosecution of the people responsible. But we must go further and make sure that the system changes so this never happens again.'

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Article information

Fri 14 Oct 2011, 16:23 BST
Issue No. 2273
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