HOW TO PREVENT A DEPORTATION
If you have contacts with retainees in a closed centre who risk being deported:
Try to know:
– if it is the first time they are being brought to the airport
– what is the flight number on the ticket they got in the centre. It is not enough to know the airline: for e.g, Turkish airlines have 4 flights leaving Brussels every day, what is the stop over (if there is one), and the following flight number to the final destination. We have relay-people in some countries or other militants who may intervene during the stop over.
– if the ticket says ‘with escort’ or if the social assistant told them that there would be an escort.
– Try to get in touch with their lawyer to know whether appeals are under way.
In general, during the first deportation attempt they are being brought to the airport and the police insist in asking (saying that ‘next time the flight will be with escort ,which is not nice at all’) if they want to leave. If they refuse, they are brought back to the centre (not always the same one, to isolate them from their friends and acquaintances). There have been exceptions, although very rare, to this rule when as from the first deportation attempt the escort was present without them being notified in advance.
During the second, or the third deportation attempt, they are being brought to the police station at the airport where several police officers are waiting for them. They are being ‘sliced up’, handcuffed and carried to the back of the plane with the escort, before the arrival of the passengers. Read a recent testimony here: http://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/arrest-and-deportationattempt/
It is important to know whether they want a mobilisation at the airport in order to warn the passengers of their presence on board. If so, it is also important to explain them that they should make noise in order to alert the passengers of their presence on board (sometimes they are hidden behind a curtain and the passengers can not see them!).
It is also worth knowing that if the second deportation attempt fails, they are sometimes being kept in the airport and secretly boarded on another flight, often with another airline!
1) BEFORE THE DEPORTATION : if a deportation, individual or collective, is announced, alert your contacts and the media, briefly introducting the story of the person (or the group of persons) who are on the point of being repatriated, giving the data of the flight and inviting the people to send protest messages to the authorities and the airline, and to go to the airport on the day of the deporattion (the latter will not be possible in case of a collective deportation from a military airport).
Example of an alert : http://snipurl.com/29pyrcx
«Airlines are the weak link of the deporation system, as written by Ian Dunt, a British journalist, in 2014. Up to us to break that link.
2) ON THE DAY OF THE DEPORTATION : go to the airport to warn the passengers who will be boarding on the same flight because very often they totally ignore what a deportation is about. If they are being explained that someone will be embarked against his/her will and that he/she will go through violent treatments, a few passengers may decide to interfere once on board in order to prevent this deportation.
3) IN THE PLANE
The victim of a deportation attempt may try to resist and draw the attention of the other passengers.
–> Video «How to stop a deportation» (octobre 2014):
The passengers may refuse to sit down as long as the person that has to be deported has not been disembarked. The pilot will not take off if he thinks the security of the flight is not granted. If a passenger refuses to sit down, the plane is not allowed to leave. The pilot will have the person to be deported go down the plane. Sometimes, the ‘rebel’ passenger will also be disembarked. It may also happen that the airline puts the latter on a ‘black list’.
If the deportation takes place, try to get the testimony of the person deported. Denounce the abuse and violences, use this information to feed your campaigns and actions. Generally, it is important that the public opinion is made aware of the issue, very often not known, of the participation of airlines in forced repatriations and to target these airlines through actions and campaigns.