By Nick Clark
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2807

‘They don’t care about anyone’s life’—Iraqi Kurd facing deportation speaks out

Hemin, who has lived in Britain for almost 22 years, is threatened with deportation to Iraqi Kurdistan
Issue 2807
A picture of Hemin with his son and partner

Hemin would be ripped away from his family by the Tory deportation plan

The Tories looked set to attempt the biggest ever deportation in a single day on Tuesday. The plan—to deport up to 300 people all at once—will tear lives and families apart. 

One of them, Hemin Mohammed Ali, told Socialist Worker from a detention centre how he faced being sent to Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan—where he risks detention. The plan ripped him suddenly away from his partner and child in Sheffield when he was arrested without warning on Monday of last week.

“They came knocking on my door with a riot squad, a police dog and an immigration van,” Hemin said. “There was no need to make this scene. When I asked what I was being arrested for, they said deportation, like I’ve committed a crime.

“They came out of the blue, made a scene and boxed me off, took me to a police station for one night. Then they took me to a holding centre in Manchester for one night, and then to a detention centre near Heathrow.”

“I’ve been in Britain for almost 22 years,” Hemin added. “But I’ve built a life here, I have parental care for my son, my boy who lives with me and is almost 13 years old. I’m the person who takes him to school, feeds him, raises him. I have a stepson who I helped raise, and now I have a grandson and a granddaughter.

“I have people around me in the community—my life has an impact on the people around me. I have friends who are sad—my wife’s relatives were in tears, my best friend’s kids were in tears when they heard about it. What’s going on?”

“Hemin has had parental responsibility for his son,” Hemin’s partner Leigh told Socialist Worker. “He was put in our care by the local authority. Now he’s crying himself to sleep every night. He wants to know when his dad’s coming home.”

Hemin says that if he’s flown to Erbil he will likely be detained. If not, he faces an uncertain future in a city where he has no connections. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “When you get there you need two people to vouch for you to let you out. I don’t have these things.”

“They say Erbil is safe,” he added. But people are fleeing Iraqi Kurdistan because of corruption and poverty. Many of the refugees who attempt sea crossings—and risk drowning—come from Iraqi Kurdistan.

“So if it’s so safe, why are people running off? How can they send me somewhere I’ve never been to? How can they say I’ll be safe?” “They don’t care about anyone’s life,” Hemin added. “These people have no sympathy.”


Tory deportation plans are ‘pure racist’ 

Hemin is just one of hundreds of people from Iraqi Kurdistan, Albania and Bangladesh that the Home Office has targeted for the mass deportation.

The right wing Daily Mail newspaper says those targeted are “foreign criminals and migrants who are in the UK illegally.” The real aim is to scapegoat refugees and migrants as part of the failing Tory government’s scheme to prop itself up with racism.

Hemin’s case shows the brutal reality of what that means for many ordinary people. Hemin served a prison sentence between 2010 and 2015, and has a failed asylum application. 

But his case to remain in Britain was still open, and he has done everything authorities have asked of him since he was released. “I made a mistake, I went to prison, I paid the price and I’ve done my time,” Hemin said. “I’ve been let out on bail and I’ve been signing on with immigration for seven years.

“Since I’ve been out I’ve not committed any crimes and probation was happy with me. I was assessed by a social worker and my son has been allowed to live with us.”

He added, “My crime is to be a foreign national. There are 200 people here in two wings. It’s category A security and it’s dirty and horrible. It’s disgusting what this government does to these people. It’s full of Iraqi Kurds, Albanians, Romanians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, all nationalities. Their crimes are to be foreign nationals.

“I was in a prison with 913 inmates—and just ten were foreign nationals. That means 903 British people have a right to go outside and live their lives. After seven years outside they come and arrest me. It’s like I’ve done the biggest crime in the world, with a police dog and police with riot shields coming to arrest me, because I’m a foreign national. Ask the Conservative Party why. It’s pure racist.”


Take action for Hemin 

Model Letter to Louise Haigh MP:

If possible please edit and print off this letter and post through the constituency office letterbox by tomorrow morning marked URGENT.

PLEASE DELETE ANY CONTENT WHICH IS NOT RELEVANT TO YOU BUT PLEASE DO NOT DEVIATE FROM THE CONTENT IN THIS LETTER.

63-65 Chesterfield Road, Sheffield S8 0RL. If not able to hand deliver this letter, please email – [email protected] Remember to include your full name and contact details including postal address.

29/05/2022

Dear Louise Haigh MP,

Our friend and neighbour, of Molloy Street, Sheffield S8, Hemin Mohamed Ali was arrested and detained by immigration officers on the morning of Monday 23 May and is currently being detained in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre, Colnbrook By-Pass, Harmondsworth, West Drayton UB7 0HB. His CID number is 581538.

Hemin is an Iraqi Kurd from Kirkuk. He has been given a letter stating that he is to be deported by force to Erbil in Iraq on 31st May 2022. The letter does not give any detail of the airline or flight number. We are extremely worried for Hemin’s safety on return to Iraq/Kurdistan. He has no documentation, no family, no one to support or vouch for him. Iraq/Kurdistan is not deemed safe for him, and we fear for his life. 

Hemin has been in the UK for 22 years after leaving Iraq and claiming asylum in the UK. He has a partner, Leigh, of 13 years and the family has two children, one still in their care. This family’s life has been completely torn apart. 

Hemin’s son is 13. He has had an extremely traumatic life and has been living with Hemin and Leigh for 3 years. He is now back in full time education with no more behavioural problems and is very settled. He is absolutely devastated that his dad has been detained and is under threat of deportation. Hemin’s stepson has grown up with him being the only father he has ever known. He is 19 now and has a daughter.

Hemin served a prison sentence from 2010-2015. He was released from prison and given bail by the immigration authorities. He has attended every date required to sign for nearly 7 years. He attended all his probation meetings and probation deemed him as low risk after his licence ended. He has done parenting assessments and screenings with social services before his son came to live with him. We believe that people such as Hemin, with precarious immigration status and with a criminal record, are being targeted for deportation, regardless of any subsequent evidence of law-abiding behaviour and good character after their conviction has been fully spent. 

There are also many Iraqi Kurds being detained with similar circumstances and threatened with deportation on 31 May with no time to gather their legal representation together or for solicitors to get anything done in time. 

Hemin has an open case with the Home Office and his solicitor has submitted further evidence to them. If necessary, an injunction by Judicial Review may be applied for.

I am asking that you contact the Home Office as a matter of urgency and request an immediate injunction to the deportation flight on 31 May. I am asking that you make an intervention in the case of your constituent Hemin Mohamed Ali and ensure that his right to family life is upheld, and he is returned to the safety of his home life with immediate effect.

Please let us know of any progress that you are able to make in this urgent case. Thank you. Yours sincerely 

YOUR NAME


Email to the airline companies – go to Stop the Mass Deportation to Iraq (e-activist.com) Use their model letter but you can add in some personal (but not too personal) detail – see below

Dear, 

Chema Alvarez (Privilege Style)
Enrique Saiz (Wamos Air)
Alistair Wilson (Titan Airways)
Paulo Mirpuri (HiFly)
Antonio Mota (Iberojet)
Bilal Ekşi (Turkish Airlines)

My friend and neighbour, Hemin was arrested and detained by immigration officers on the morning of Monday 23 May and is currently being detained in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre, West Drayton UB7 0HB. 

Hemin has been given a letter stating that he is to be deported by force to Erbil in Iraq on 31st May 2022. The letter does not give any detail of the airline or flight number but we understand your airline may be used for this purpose. We are extremely worried for Hemins safety on return to Iraq/Kurdistan. Iraq/Kurdistan is not deemed safe for him, and we fear for his life. 

Hemin has been in the UK for 22 years. He has a partner of 13 years and the family has two children, one still in their care. This family’s life has been completely torn apart. 

There are also many Iraqi Kurds being detained with similar circumstances and threatened with deportation on 31 May with no time to gather their legal representation together or for solicitors to get anything done in time. 

This Tuesday, one of your planes could be used for a mass deportation from the UK to Iraq for the first time in over a decade.

Before you consider helping Priti Patel deport people to danger and shatter families, you need to hear these words from a 14 year old girl. Her dad is facing deportation to Iraq from the UK on Tuesday:

“Kurdish men are being sent back to a place that will ultimately put their lives at risk.

[This flight] will have long-lasting, negative effects on us all, and the families of these men who will grow up in a country like this. A country that has let them down when they needed help. A country we can’t depend on for support ever again. A country that ruined the one thing we all value the most. Family.

Please remember that these people are humans like you and I.”

If you don’t do something, your plane could carry loving parents, and even grandparents away from their families. 

Your company would leave heartbroken children in the UK, who research shows will likely experience long-term trauma.

Your brand could be associated with people being deported to a country where they’re at risk of death or persecution due to their sexuality or political beliefs.

This would be an indelible stain on your company’s image, but luckily you have a choice. You can stop this from happening. 

Please, don’t profit from pain. Refuse to fly Priti Patel’s dangerous mass deportation flight on Tuesday.

Thank you

YOUR NAME

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance
One-off