Human rights activists plead with Kenya Airways

Filed in Gather News Channel by on October 7, 2007 0 Comments

Human rights activists in Britain are calling on Kenya Airways to refuse to carry a Zimbabwean asylum seeker who are being deported to Malawi today.

Amos Windolosi (31), a known member of the Zimbabwean opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is being forcibly removed on Kenya Airways Flight KQ101 to Nairobi, Kenya. The flight leaves Heathrow Airport on Oct. 7 at 8.20 p.m. and connects with the 8.30 a.m., Flight KQ424 to Lilongwe, Malawi on Oct. 8.

MDC South Yorkshire chairperson, Munetsi Jangwa says because of the deportation, Windolosi’s life was now at risk.

“We are very certain and the British courts have supported our position, that if he is deported to Malawi, he will definitely be handed over to Zimbabwe and face the Central Intelligence Organisation goons who will torture him to death,” Jangwa says.

Windolosi, who is also known as Amos Chifamba, fled Zimbabwe two years ago to escape persecution at the hands of President Robert Mugabe’s regime. He used a Malawian passport to travel to the U.K. and applied for political asylum when he arrived at Gatwick Airport on Oct. 20, 2005. His application was refused on Nov, 29, 2005. He appealed the decision, but the asylum claim was dismissed.

After obtaining more evidence he filed a fresh asylum claim in August 2006 but was advised by his then solicitors that they could no longer take him on as a client because he had exhausted his legal aid funding. Windolosi could not afford to pay a solicitor to act on his behalf so he told the Home Office he would be representing himself and asked the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) to deal with him directly.

The Home office did not respond to him concerning the fresh claim. Instead Windolosi was detained on Oct. 1, 2007 when he went to sign in at the BIA offices in Sheffield and was subsequently told he was being removed to Malawi. The Home Office argued that because he had a Malawian passport, he was a Malawian and not a Zimbabwean citizen.

The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC) is also urging Kenya Airways to refuse to participate in Windolosi’s forced removal. The NCADC points out that Windolosi’s case has vital evidence which has not been heard by the Home Office.

“Amos is a Zimbabwean national who faces imprisonment and probably death if he is removed from the U.K.,” NCADC Co-ordinator, John O says.

Even in the U.K., Windolosi has been actively involved in demonstrations and protests against President Robert Mugabe’s misrule. These include invading Zimbabwe House in London and demanding an audience with the Zimbabwean High Commissioner in an effort to get the High Commissioner to denounce the human rights abuses which the Mugabe regime is perpetrating.

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