Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

Help Sarwar Gareb get out of Campsfield IRC and stay in the UK

John O | 27.01.2009 15:21 | Migration | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | Birmingham | World

Human rights campaigner Sarwar Gareb a National of Kurdistan/Iraq and resident of Leicester, has been detained in Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre, after being arrested on Friday 23rd January whilst 'Signing' at Loughborough Reporting Centre.

Sarwar came to the UK from Kurdistan/Iraq on 10th September 2000 to escape persecution by the nationalist Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).  Working as a journalist and activist he consistently fought for the rights of children, women and workers which led to his imprisonment and torture by the two parties.

His application was refused on the 18th January 2001, subsequent appeals, reconsideration were also refused, though no attempt was made to remove Sarwar from the UK, until now.

Removal directions have not been set and immigration officials in Campsfield have told Sarwar that he has been detained because all his legal avenues have been exhausted. Sarwar say this is not correct, he has told the immigration officials that he lodged a fresh asylum claim in September 2008, immigration say they have checked their records and cannot find the application.

Sarwar, who lives in Leicester, has been a teacher, a journalist, an artist and an active member of his local community since arriving in the UK.

He is a chair of Relive magazine and a member of many organisations including Leicester Civil Human Rights Movement, Long Journey Home, International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, the Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

NUJ Northern Organiser Chris Morley has written to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith asking for Sarwar to be released and for his case to be reviewed.

The letter said: "Mr Gareb was a member of the Worker Communist Party of Iraq and prominent journalist, campaigning both professionally and politically for women's, children's and workers' rights. As such, this made him deeply unpopular with the two main political parties, the PUK and KDP - both of which imprisoned and tortured him.

"As a result he was forced to flee for his life to seek asylum in the UK on July 16, 2000, where he has since enjoyed freedom from persecution. In this time, Mr Gareb has been an active member of the community, including becoming chair of the Relive magazine in Leicester that provides assistance to Kurdish people in the city."

Recent deportees to Kurdistan have been killed in car bombs, kidnapped and committed suicide since forcibly sent back to KRG/Iraq. Many live in hiding. The same people who forced Sarwar to leave Iraq - members of the PUK and the KDP - are now in government. They have been condemned by human rights groups, including Amnesty International, for imprisoning human rights campaigners and those who oppose them politically.

Sarwar has been outspoken of his criticism of them from the UK. He has written a book - 'The Hidden Pain' - about the leadership of the PUK and the KDP, he has given interviews on satellite TV about the brutality of their regime and has been an active member of the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, attending demonstrations outside the Kurdistan Regional Government's offices in London.

If he goes back to Iraq his life will be in serious and imminent danger because of his work. He will be a huge loss to his local community and the many groups and causes he is involved in.

What you can do:

1) Please send urgent faxes/emails immediately to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Sarwar Gareb should be released from detention and granted protection in the UK. Please use the attached "model letter" (SarwarGareb JS.doc) which you can copy/amend/write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include their HO ref: G1031671).

Fax: 020 8760 3132(00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)

"CIT - Treat Official">

2) Sign Sarwar's petition to the Home Office requesting that he be given indefinite leave to remain at

Please let campaign know of any email/faxes sent:
Sarwar Gareb Campaign /

Emails of solidarity to Sarwar:

For more information please contact: Dashty Jamal on 078 5603 2991, or Richard Whittell on 078 2499 6724 or e mail:
International Federation of Iraqi Refugees
Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq

John O
- e-mail:
- Homepage: