Eid message sent to Blair opposing deportation of Muslims
London, Nov 5, IRNA
Relatives of 10 Muslims facing expulsion from the UK have sent Prime Minister Tony Blair a message on an Eid card expressing opposition to their deportations.
The Eid card was signed by thousands of people during the holy month of Ramadan. The campaign was also supported by Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty Civil Rights, Zareena Mustafa of the Deportees Family Campaign and leading peace activist Bruce Kent.
Ten foreign nationals, who were arrested in August pending deportation to Algeria and Jordan, including eight previously interned without charge under anti-terrorism laws, were some of the signatories.
Delivering their message, Josephine, the wife of one of the deportees, said the British government was attempting to deport the men on the basis of « assurances » that the men will not be tortured on their return to countries such as Algeria and Jordan.
« These countries are notorious for their use of systematic torture and extrajudicial killings, » she warned. The assurances, gained by the government by way of a `Memoranda of Understanding,’ has faced widespread criticism from human rights groups, she said.
A relative identified as Mrs. G, whose husband is currently on bail under house arrest conditions, said that Eid-ul Fitr was a « a day when Muslims worldwide come together as one family. » « Our families have been torn apart, our children are left without their fathers — we want to use this day to remind everybody of what is happening to our loved ones, » she said.
A human rights lawyer acting for the relatives said that the British government had stated for many years that each of these people facing deportations « will be tortured or killed if returned to his country of origin. »
« Yet it has entered into arrangements for their immediate return with those same regimes whose torture chambers are actively used still on a daily basis, » she said.
Their message came as Blair sent his traditional best wishes to British Muslims celebrating Eid, saying it was a celebration that gives « every one of us a chance to reflect on Islam’s major and positive influence over the centuries. »
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sent a similar message that also referred to the importance of the fasting month of Ramadan, serving as « an important reminder for us all, Muslim and non-Muslim, of our duty to help those less fortunate than ourselves. »