Socialist Worker

Angolan man hangs himself so his son can stay here

Issue No. 1969

A memorial to Manuel on Saturday

A memorial to Manuel on Saturday's vigil (Pic: Dave Barnes)

New Labour’s draconian policies towards asylum seekers claimed another victim last week.

Manuel Bravo, a 35 year old asylum seeker from Angola, hanged himself in the stairwell at Yarls Wood Removal Centre on Thursday of last week.

Immigration officials had snatched Manuel and his 13 year old son Antonio on Thursday of last week. They were taken to Yarls Wood from where they were to be deported to Angola.

Manuel, his wife Lydia and their two sons had fled Angola in 2001 after his parents were killed and his sister raped.

They settled in Leeds. Lydia and their son Mellyu returned to Angola earlier this year.

The International Red Cross later informed Manuel that she had been arrested on their return and that both had disappeared.

Manuel hanged himself so that the authorities could not deport his son, as it is illegal to deport an unaccompanied minor.

Manuel’s last words to his son were, “Be brave, Do well at school.”

Reverend Alistair Kaye of the Bravos’ church in Leeds said, “Antonio is very quiet, very subdued. We went to the mortuary with him to see his dad.

“We are hoping to get him back up to Leeds. They cannot deport him. They have no grounds to deport a minor.”

Asylum campaigners protested outside Yarls Wood last Saturday against arbitrary detentions and in disgust at Manuel’s death.

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Sat 24 Sep 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1969
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