Below is a written statement from one of our members regarding his last period in "Detention" - which is in-effect, prison. At present in Zimbabwe there is a "Commission of Inquiry" into the murder of 6 civilians by the Army.
Zimbabwe is a very dangerous place if you are in opposition to the regime - this seems to count for nothing within the UK Asylum regime. It/they seems only too happy to terrorise asylum seekers here. Read on.
My name is Bigboy Sibanda, D.O.B 28 January 1978, Home Office ref: S1142946 and I am a prominent activist, civil rights defender and an effective defender of Zimbabwe human rights in the UK. I am very vocal against "President Mnangagwa" and the Zimbabwean Government and its proxies, this places me at a heightened risk of being harmed, killed or persecuted in Zimbabwe.
This is my history of Detention - for being an Asylum Seeker - not a Criminal
""I had been detained for a week at Oakington Detention Centre in 2002, [and then] detained again from 1 July 2008 to 2 March 2011 (almost 3 years) at Brook House IRC".
""I was released on bail and electronically tagged for 3 years 9 months and 8 days. I reported twice a week on a Monday and a Friday for over 6 months, which got reduced to once a week, which became every Friday for over 7 years at Becket House London Bridge.""
""I was detained [yet] again on 15 of June 2018 at Brook House IRC and released on the 11 of July 2018 and continued reporting at Becket House every Friday without fail.""
The Home Office wish to deport me to Zimbabwe. A country known to the world for its human rights abuses and corruption. I suffer from severe depression and anxiety which I am being treated for. For depression, I take Mirtazapine 45mg arodispersible tablets, which is the highest dose of antidepressants tablets. I also suffer from skin condition where I require Eumovate cream and my scalp itches to the point where my hair falls out and have to use Ketozopine Shampoo. All these conditions I picked them up whilst detained at Brook House IRC. I ask where will I get medical care in Zimbabwe, besides I am a torture survivor by the brutal Zimbabwean police.
When I got detained [AGAIN, for the 4th Time] on the 19 October 2018, I pleaded with them to release me as I look after a 75 year old woman who has had a stroke, it fell into deaf ears, which shows how much they disregard human life and the fact that as a perceived journalist because of my writing of letters to the editor. I am facing real danger upon my return to Zimbabwe. There are articles online where I criticise President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwean government and its proxies. I am also very critical of the terrorist government of Zimbabwe on social media, Twitter and Facebook.
""When I was last detained, first at Brook House IRC, Gatwick Airport for 4 days, on the fourth night at 1 am, an officer came to my cell and told me to pack as I was being transferred. I refused and went to sleep as far as I was concerned I was a detainee in detention so what was the point of moving me to another detention centre. The following morning two massive officers turned up at my door and told me to pack my property or face being removed by force, so I packed and was transferred to Harmondsworth IRC, Heathrow Airport.""
Harmondsworth IRC is a disgusting place, the Officers are horrible people, it is infested with mice, and bedbugs, there are a lot of empty cells for these reasons, as they are inhabitable. The place is a nightmare, very chaotic and scary. Detainees are bitten by bedbugs to the point of infection and as the medical care sporadic. The officers do not hesitate to use force, in fact, they seem to enjoy it. You are treated worse than animals and very often, "inmates" try to take their own lives. Food is inedible and disgusting. Whilst I was there a detainee went on hunger strike; officers didn’t even notice.
Sometimes visits are left unmonitored which is why Harmondsworth IRC is rife with drug use.
On the 26 October 2018, I was taken to Heathrow Airport for deportation. I was told by an officer to pack and go to reception I was being transferred. When I arrived in reception I was jumped on and surrounded by seven men (not officers). The Team Leader took control of that chaotic situation and said “just to let you know you're being deported today” I was body searched, told to shake my dreadlocks, told to open my upper lip and bottom lip, lift my tongue I was then chained without my consent, carried out like a bag of rubbish. I told them I was not given any notice or removal directions so they were smuggling me out of the country unlawfully. They answered they were just doing their job if I have any queries I should sort them out with the Home Office.
I felt like I was arrested for smuggling drugs with the way the search went and like the worst criminal the way they chained me unnecessarily as I didn't resist. I did not resist the efforts to be deported as I was aware of an infamous case of Jimmy Mubenga from Angola who was killed in 2010 at Gatwick Airport by these racist Home Office escorts. On the way to Heathrow Airport I asked them about the removal directions, they showed me a pink paper with just “Emergency Travel Document” on it and I was not allowed to touch it and read it myself. I was also told I will be flying with Kenyan Airways on flight 101.
My passport expired in 2008. and I have no I.D. I would like to know how the Home Office obtained my travelling documents? When I was detained in June 2018. I had an interview by Zimbabwean officials who said they were doing a survey on how many Zimbabweans are in detentions in the UK. They claimed they were sent by the Zimbabwean government to do a tally. They were heading for Moscow (Russia) next to do the same thing. They asked for my signature so they will get paid they said, which I refused to give as I feel they were not there for that reason, rather they were trying to make me one of the 2,500 Zimbabweans, the Home Office wished to deport, due to the "Windrush" debacle.
I wrote about 10 important emails to broadcasting co-operations in the UK while in Harmondsworth IRC because I trusted that as persons working in a broadcasting and probably with an interest to journalists, they will intervene and assist if they're able, as I am facing possible charges of treason accompanied by a death sentence if deported to Zimbabwe, in its current climate as the army is still hunting down and killing opposition members and people who are vocal against the Zimbabwean government.
If deported I am likely to be perceived as a journalist because of my writing on letters to the editor sections of various newspapers in internationally. It is the journalists who exposed "Windrush" scandal after all. I appealed for international solidarity and trusted they will do something to help. I begged them not to let me not suffer the same heartbreaking death that Jamal Khashoggi went through, in Zimbabwe.
I am definitely facing real danger if deported because of my surplus activities in the UK particularly publicity about inciting the world to reject Zimbabwe's recent Election Outcome as it was rigged. This publicity is readily available on the internet and as a result of this, I will be questioned, identified and eventually exposed to real risk in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean Militia are targeting human rights activists. I am heartbroken to tell you that my other MDC member in Zimbabwe died soon after elections because of his activism and many of them are being abducted and facing persecution, so my worry is, if I am deported to Zimbabwe, they will take me straight arrest me on arrival and charge me with treason, due to my MDC support. As you know the charge of treason carries the death penalty. which is still a method of choice in Zimbabwe!
I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that I am at a risk and real danger because of my incitement to the world to reject elections which were rigged. Zimbabwe government will definitely persecute me, harm me, detain me and kill me. Please stand up for me and do something to save my life.
I beseech you to assist me and not stand by as I am in no doubt in danger. Please do not let it be, that you could have helped me and that the next thing you hear about me is that I was killed in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean Militia are targeting human rights activists.
I am heartbroken that other MDC members in Zimbabwe died soon after elections because of their activism and many of them are being abducted and facing persecution, torture and death so my worry is, I step my foot in Zimbabwe, I will be one of them. I will be questioned at the Harare Airport by the CIO and never to be seen again.
""The racist Home Office do lie and fabricate travel documents on your behalf without your consent and knowledge and use underhanded tactics of fast-tracking cases.""
My fresh claim was refused before I submitted all the evidence I had in my computer as I was detained. Now I have just a matter of days to prepare for my appeal. They will say each case will be heard on its own merit, well not if you are not given a chance to fully prepare your case and be heard fully and squarely. My question is how come the racist Home Office is above the law. They seem to make up policies on a whim. Their country guidance is a farce it doesn’t reflect what's truly happening in Zimbabwe.
Racist Home Office deporting Zimbabweans is like the Nazis sending Jews to the gas chamber.
Yours in need of international protection (Refugee) and Human Rights Activist
Thank you to my ZHRO family who called and sent me phone credits. Also, the MDC family too they really made my nightmare better
Bigboy Sibanda - 25th November 2018