A Mass Petition Collection will take place on Thursday 5th June from 12noon at Grey's Monument Newcastle, please come along and help if you can.
Please Fax Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to protest against the deportation of Mako and her children. You can use the model fax attached and copied below or write your own.
Fax: 020 8760 3132
If you don't have access to a fax: There have been reports of the email method for faxing Jacqui Smith not working. Instead try emailing: email@example.com and start your subject ATTN: Jacqui Smith
TCAR will be having a stall this Saturday and Sunday at Leazes Park, Newcastle. If you are a TCAR member we uregently need to come along to the stall at some point over the weekend to make sure we have your current details and to make sure you have the current TCAR emergency number to report people being snatched. Help is also needed manning the stall, so if you have a spare hour to help please come along.
Mako Oumakani and her children, Sadate 3 years and Yasmine 9 months, face deportation to Togo on Monday 9th June 2008. They were detained by immigration police in a raid on their home in Benwell before 6am on Wednesday 4th June. The alert was sounded when concerned neighbours visited later in the day and found the door smashed in. Mako was an active member of the opposition party UFC (Union des Forces de Changement) in Togo. Extrajudicial executions, torture and disappearances are carried out with total impunity in the country, governed since 1967 by President Gnassingbe Eyadéma. Mako was arrested in 2004 for her political activities, and held for 2 weeks. Following this she fled to Britain. Both her children were born in Britain. Yasmine has suffered from serious medical problems and is currently under a one year observation at a local clinic. They have been struggling to rebuild their lives, and have formed strong links and many friends in the local community. If forced to return to Togo Mako has grave fears for the safety of herself and her children.
Rt. Hon Jacqui Smith, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office
3rd Floor, Peel Buildings
2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 8760 3132
Dear Home Secretary,
Re: Mako Oumakani (HO ref: M1245907) who is currently being detained in Dungavel detention centre and due to be deported to Togo on 9th June 2008.
I am writing to you in relation to Mako Oumakani, a resident and valued community member of the community in Newcastle. I am extremely worried about her situation.
Mako was detained with her children Sadate and Yasmine, aged 3 years and 9 months, in an immigration raid on their home in Benwell in the early hours of Wednesday 4th June 2008. She is currently being held in Dungavel immigration detention centre near Glasgow, and has been told she will be deported to Togo at 9.35pm on Monday 9th June on Ethiopian Airways flight ET701. The alert was sounded when concerned neighbours visited later in the day and found the door smashed in.
Mako was an active member of the opposition party UFC (Union des Forces de Changement) in Togo. Extrajudicial executions, torture and disappearances are carried out with total impunity in the country, governed since 1967 by President Gnassingbe Eyadéma. The repressive measures taken by the Togolese security forces against the civilian population, particularly supporters of the political opposition, were intensified during and after the Presidential elections in June 1998. Amnesty International is aware of around thirty cases of individuals being apprehended, some of whom have been released without trial. These detainees represent only a fraction of those arrested for political reasons during 1998 and 1999. Among these detainees are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for having expressed political opinions non-violently. Arrests have taken place throughout the country, in Lomé, the capital, as well as in Wawa and Lacs districts, and have affected all activists and supporters of opposition political parties. During the last decade the security forces have allegedly used torture systematically at the time of suspects’ arrest or at the time of their transfer to centres of detention. Once they are taken to a gendarmerie to be interrogated detainees are habitually ill-treated or tortured with a view to extracting information and confessions from them.
The newspaper "La Tribune africaine" of 3 March 1998 reported the arrest followed by torture and ill-treatment of AGBLELÉ Koffi and two Liberians. The three men were arrested following an identity check in Sokodé, during which the police discovered a CAR card on AGBLELÉ Koffi. The latter along with the two Liberians were reported "to have been beaten with batons in Sokodé and with rope in the gendarmerie in Lomé".
Furthermore, newspapers also give the names of those thought to be responsible for such acts. In a testimony made public in September 1995 by the "Tribune des Démocrates", KOUDAYA Richard Koukou accused a close relative of President GNASSINGBÉ Eyadéma:
"On the night of 12 March 1994 around 11 pm, X requested our transfer to his office in Camp Landja. He ordered 6 soldiers to come and torture us: corporal punishment, beating and wounds; they nearly beat me to death to make me tell the truth and this lasted for a week. Under the pressure of threats and torture I had to agree to everything that X wanted to charge me with..."
The victims encountered by the Amnesty International delegation in November 1998 also named their torturers, among whom were senior gendarmerie officials. The Togolese authorities made no response to the delegation when it passed on the names of those reported to be responsible for torture and ill-treatment, and urged that administrative sanctions be taken in anticipation of the setting up of a judicial inquiry. Amnesty International has been made aware of several cases of civilians who have died following torture inflicted in detention centres, including the premises of the national gendarmerie headquarters in Lomé. On 28 July 1998, several individuals wearing red sashes or wine-coloured clothes (an indication of support for the opposition), who were calling for a demonstration, were arrested and beaten by the security forces. Several of them died following these beatings. In addition over the last few years hundreds of civilians and soldiers have been reported as victims of extrajudicial executions by security forces linked to the Togolese government.
Mako was arrested in 2004 for her political activities, and held for 2 weeks. Following this she fled to Britain. Both her children were born in Britain. Yasmine has suffered from serious medical problems and is currently under a one year observation at a local clinic. They have been struggling to rebuild their lives, and have formed strong links and many friends in the local community.
If forced to return to Togo Mako has grave fears for the safety of herself and her children. On the grounds of respecting the Mako and her children’s human rights as well as their health and safety, we ask that their removal be halted to allow for their case to be given further consideration and that she be granted exceptional leave to remain in Britain, where she is an integral part of the Newcastle community.
TYNESIDE COMMUNITY ACTION FOR REFUGEES (TCAR)