Friday, 30 November 2007

It's Just Not Good Enough

"I confirm that it is Home Office policy to remove political dissidents to Uzbekistan"
- Response to a letter to the Home Office by MP Bob Marshall-Andrews regarding Jahongir Sidikov, reported by Craig Murray.
Well, the relieving news that Thursday brought regarding this horrifying situation was that Sidikov's deportation has been "postponed". It is may be that Marshall-Andrews' efforts1 in his capacity as an MP were what brought this about. A Tuesday evening report by the one mainstream media outlet to put their heads above the parapet on this case - Channel 42 - may also have played a part.

Whatever it is that persuaded the Home Office to back off from delivering Sidikov into the hands of the Uzbek security services on Wednesday, it does not look as though an actual reversal of the astonishing policy move to start deporting dissidents to Uzbekistan is on the Government's agenda. It has to be asked: Do they not know what goes on there? Or do they just not give a fuck?

Craig Murray1 points to the pressure on the Government to appear 'tough' on asylum seekers which emanates from certain quarters of the media:
"But she [the case judge] was merely indicative of the general mindset of the "Fast-track", a disgraceful device by which the government seeks to curry favour with the tabloids by increasing deportation numbers...Boosting New Labour with focus groups infinitely outweighs the torture to death of the odd dissident."
It is clear what the stakes are who those who fall foul of this particularly inhuman efficiency drive. I had hoped in the beginning that this was all a big mistake, borne of bureaucratic officials who do not know any better treating this man's life as just another set of documents to be filed away.

On the back of the information provided by the Home Office to Bob Marshall-Andrews, and considering also the Government's treatment of a separate group of asylum seekers* who are at serious risk of torture and execution3, that hope now seems somewhat naive.

In both cases, it appeared at first that they were careless. Now it seems that they just could not care less. What an awful observation to make about those in charge of this supposed beacon of civilisation.


1. http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/11/a_chance_to_fig.html
2. http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/international_politics/deportation+fears+for+uzbek+man/1107647
3. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article2211281.ece

*There is I'm pleased to say a separate bloggers' campaign to urge the Government to give the Iraqi interpreters who worked for the British army asylum and save them from the militias.
Read more: Dan Hardie.
Watch Tim Ireland's video 'The plight of Iraqi interpreters (explained with post-it notes)' here.

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