Asylum Seeker Dies During Deportation

By Ricardo Zamora

Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe

LONDON, England – Three men have been arrested in connection with the death of an Angolan national during a deportation.  Jimmy Mubenga, 46, died last week shortly after boarding a flight to his home country.  He was flying back subject to deportation orders after his application for asylum in the United Kingdom was denied.

Last Tuesday, Jimmy Mubenga, escorted by three G4S security guards, was put on British Airways flight 77 from Heathrow to Luanda, Angola.  G4S is an international organization specializing in sensitive security operations.  The U.K. contracts G4S to escort deportees to the Home Office.

Shortly after boarding his British Airways flight, a verbal outbreak prompted the guards to forcefully detain Mubenga in his seat. Several witnesses to the detention said that the three security guards who detained Mubenga complained about Mubenga’s breathing throughout the ordeal.

The Guardian reports that witnesses recalled Mubenga being handcuffed and sat between two guards at the rear of the aircraft.  At some point Mubenga began shouting and resisting his deportation and the guards restrained him in his seek despite his shouting “I can’t breathe” until losing consciousness.

Mubenga’s family has called witnesses to come forward with any other information which may assist in the investigation.

“If, as eye-witness report suggest, Mr. Mubenga was complaining of breathing difficulties, questions must be asked as to why help was not called for sooner,” Keith Vaz, chair of the Commons home affairs select committee, said.  “When removing people from the UK, human rights must be fully respected at all times,” he added.

Author: Impunity Watch Archive