[ 18. Jul 2000 ]

Passenger Revolt Halts Illegal Deportation on Flight BA902

Am 18. Juli wurde bei einem Flug der British Airways von den anwesenden Passagieren eine Abschiebung verhindert! Die FluggästInnen riefen zu zivilem Ungehorsam auf und schafften es, dass der 23 jährige Salim Rambo aus Zaire nicht abgeschoben wurde.


Several arrests were made this morning on a BA flight from Heathrow to Frankfurt. Passengers resorted to civil disobedience to prevent the forced deportation of 23 year old Salim Rambo, a Zairean refugee. Due to take off at 7:15 am the flight was delayed for over 2 hours. Mr Rambo was taken of the plane and his forced deportation was prevented.

Several passengers are still being held at Heathrow police station.

Mr Rambo was caught up in the Civil War in the Republic of Congo (Zaire) and now fears for his life from both government and rebel forces. He was among over 11,000 people detained by the immigration service every year, and has been held in Harmondsworth detention centre and given no legal advice since the decision for his removal was made. Germany had already refused his asylum application, so return to Frankfurt this morning would almost certainly have meant deportation to Zaire and death.

The removal to Germany was taking place under a little known but often used clause of the Dublin Convention, which provides for removal of immigrants to a "Safe Third Country". As it is almost impossible to arrive in the UK without passing through a "Third Country", thousands of asylum seekers are deported with no consideration of their case. By deporting Mr Rambo in this way, without access to legal representation, the Home Secretary may have been in breach of international law. This is being taken up in court.

Before boarding the flight passengers were given leaflets by the anti-prison network, CAGE, informing them about Mr Rambo's presence on the flight. The leafleting was part of a long weekend of actions by CAGE. This included the occupation of the site of a proposed women"s prison in Surrey and scaling the fence at Harmondsworth detention centre - which is how CAGE first came to communicate with Mr Rambo.

Passengers were also encouraged to delay the flight by refusing to take their seats until Mr Rambo was allowed off the plane. Similar actions in Belgium have led to commercial airlines refusing to deport asylum seekers. A spokesperson from CAGE said: "It is unbelievable that BA and its shareholders are profiting from the forced removal of people from the UK. This is the ultimate in putting profit before life, and it is nice to see that people here are standing up to it...literally!"