Time is getting short for Zimbabwean family in detention in UK

The matter is urgent. But it’s Christmas and there’s no one there to appeal to. The die is cast and so the Zimbawean family will be forcibly deported on Monday, 29th December. Their father is dead, killed by Mugabe’s regime, so the family will not be recognised by Zanu PF. At the moment they are held at Yarlswood detention centre – a prison by any other name – a place quite unsuited to to anyone, particularly those not guilty of any crime, particularly women and children.
The following letter was sent to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, with a copy to Tony Wright MP:

Rt Hon Jacqui Smith
Secretary of State to the Home Department
Dear Home Secretary
We are writing to you directly on a matter of urgency regarding an imminent deportation. As this is scheduled to take place during the parliamentary recess, we have been unable to ask MP, Dr Tony Wright, to raise this matter with you in the normal way. We are extremely concerned about the timing of this deportation which negates the democratic rights of members of the public to protest, and undermines the human rights of those directly affected. We ask that in future such timing be avoided.
We were shocked to learn that the Home Office is proposing to deport Zimbabwean nationals Priviledge Thulambo (39) and her daughters Valerie (20) and Lorraine (18) to Malawi on 29 December. The family came to Britain 8 years ago, after Mr Thulambo was murdered for his links with Morgan Tsvangari, on Malawian passports obtained because of the late Mr Thulambo’s dual nationality. This was the only way they could possibly get here at the time. Because they still have Zimbabwean nationality, it is likely that they will be sent on to Zimbabwe, where they will face torture or death. In this exceptional situation, the fact that they have Malawian passports, Mrs Thulambo’s Zimbabwean passport having been seized by British immigration officials when the family were arrested at dawn on 12 December, cannot be relied on to protect them after deportation.
Because of the exceptional circumstances, we believe that Mrs Thulambo and her daughters should be considered as Zimbabwean (which they are!) for immigration purposes, and allowed to remain here in line with the government’s undertaking not to deport Zimbabweans to there own country. In a situation where those concerned are likely to be re-deported to Zimbabwe, to do otherwise would be contrary to the government’s very honourable commitment to protect Zimbabweans in this way.
Yours faithfully
John and Barbara Cockcroft

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