Socialist Worker

Shock, grief and anger after Jimmy Mubenga verdict

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2434

Protesters outside the Home Office on Thursday

Protesters outside the Home Office on Thursday (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Shock at the verdict of the trial into manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga has continued as more information is released.

Three G4S guards were found not guilty last week of manslaughter over Jimmy’s death during a forced deportation in October 2010.

After examining the medical evidence an inquest in 2013 found he was “unlawfully killed”, but so far no one has been held responsible.

Jimmy’s wife Adrienne Makenda Kambana said after the verdict, “I am going to start a campaign to stop this happening again.

“I will ask the Home Office to make sure there is an independent monitor on each deportation so they can observe what is going on. I can’t stand by and watch this happen to another family. I have to do that for Jimmy.”

Around 200 people protested last night, Thursday, outside the home office in central London demanding justice for Jimmy.

Protesters called. “We can’t breathe”, echoing the last words of both Jimmy and of Eric Garner who was killed by police in New York.

Two of the three G4S guards had numerous racist texts on their phones. Stuart Trebelnig had one which said, “Fuck off and go home you free-loading, benefit grabbing, kid producing, violent, non-English speaking cock suckers and take those hairy faced, sandal wearing, bomb making, goat fucking, smelly rag head bastards with you.”

The judge did not admit these in evidence.

Bearing

He accepted the defence argument that they might “release an unpredictable cloud of prejudice” against the guards among the jury that would stop a fair trial. He said that they had no bearing on the central issue of whether the guards deliberately held Jimmy’s head down.

Writing for the Institute of Race Relations, Frances Webber pointed out, “Although he accepted that the racist messages were ‘reprehensible conduct’ which would allow admission of the evidence, his decision was to prevent the jury from contextualising or properly weighing the evidence the guards gave of their respectful, professional treatment of Mubenga.

“It contrasted sharply with the decision of the judge in the Stephen Lawrence case to admit evidence of Gary Dobson and Steven Norris’ racist attitudes, as evidenced in covert surveillance material.”

In the aftermath of Jimmy’s death neither the Home Office nor G4S revealed the information that he had been forcibly restrained, or that he had cried out, “I can’t breathe”.

This only came out after passengers who had witnessed the incident were interviewed.

An inquest in 2013 found that Jimmy had been unlawfully killed. The CPS then agreed to prosecute the three guards, though earlier it had decided not to, citing “insufficient evidence”.

It did not charge G4S itself with corporate manslaughter. The firm has since lost its contract to accompany deportees.

Ashamed

On the protest, student Thanan told Socialist Worker, “I’m ashamed of the way people are treated and I want the British government to know that.”

Another protester Relle said, “I came this protest because of injustice. I’ve seen what’s been going on in the States, and then I read about Jimmy Mubenga. It’s ridiculous that this is allowed.”

Stephina, who has recently been released from the immigration detention centre at Yarl’s Wood, argued that no-one should be detained. She told the crowd not to see detainees as victims.

“We are not weak, we are strong,” she said. “We have lost lives because they are scared of us. As much as we are grieving we should rejoice in that.”

Speaking for Stand Up to Racism, Weyman Bennett called on people to turn the anti-racist protests on 21 March into a “day of rage” against racism.

The protest had originally been called by NUS Black Students and London Black Revs before the verdict to mark International Migrants Day. It finished with an impromptu march to the nearby headquarters of G4S. 


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