After 8 weeks of evidence, an inquest jury has found that Jimmy Mubenga was unlawfully killed while being restrained by G4S guards in a deportation attempt in 2010.
Jimmy Mubenga, a 46 year old Angolan father, died onboard a British Airways plane at Heathrow airport. The inquest heard that Mubenga had been calling out for help as three G4S guards heavily restrained him for more than half an hour. Several passengers said they heard him shouting that he could not breathe and that he was crying out: “They’re going to kill me.”
Criminal charges against the three G4S guards were dropped last year, but there are now renewed calls for the Crown Prosecution Service to reopen the prosecution. The inquest had heard evidence that the guards had shared offensive racist “jokes” on their phones, and one had referred to another deportee as an animal.
G4S, who lost the deportations contract to Reliance in 2011, today put out an inevitable denial of responsibility, saying that their employees were trained, screened and vetted to the standards defined by strict Home Office guidelines.
In a statement outside the court, Mr Mubenga’s widow, Adrienne Makenda Kambana, read a statement in which she thanked the jury for helping her get closer to Justice but added that
“justice will only be fully achieved when I can tell my children that those responsible have been properly held to account and no other family suffers in the way we are.”
The unlawful killing of Jimmy Mubenga is not an isolated incident. Every year, migrants die in UK detention centres and at other points in the migration control system. Some take their own lives. Hundreds more are injured by detention and deportation guards in the privatised immigration enforcement regime.
In 2008, the research report Outsourcing Abuse was published by NCADC, Birnberg Peirce & Medical Justice. The report documents hundreds of allegations of deportation assault, including 42 of breathing restraint. And still the violence goes on.
Two steps would go a long way towards reducing the abuse of migrants: ending immigration detention, and ending forcible deportations. Until then, the injustice, the abuse and the violence will continue.
Read day-by-day inquest court transcripts here
Full background including a comprehensive briefing on the death of Jimmy Mubenga from Inquest.