the Disillusioned kid: Citizen Saqib
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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Citizen Saqib

Frankly I was pretty sceptical about the brouhaha that flared up around the deportation of foreign prisoners "scandal". You know, the one where "foreigners" (a term which requires some clarification as we shall see) people convicted of crimes weren't considered for deportation after having served their sentences. This obviously dovetails far too comfortably with the government's ongoing efforts to ship evildoers off to countries where they are likely to experience distasteful sharp implement/bodily orifice interfaces. The focus on those who reoffended also raised the dubious implication that this would have been fine if only they'd done it in Foreign.

Sceptical as I was, I never thought the racist, authoritarian shits we fawningly describe as "our government" would stoop so low as to try and deport a British citizen. Unfortunately, it appears that things have now got so bad, that they are actually worse than even I'd dared contemplate. Enter stage left Saqib Almas. Unfortunately, for the timebeing, Saqib's story only seems to have been picked up by that paragon of journalistic clarity that is the Socialist Worker, but their openly wielded hatchet aside, it's no more in their interests to make up a story than it is for any of the coprorate media. As ever, one simply has to sift through the sledgehammer rhetoric to get to the important information within.

Saqib was born in Pakistan to a mother who was a British citizen who just happened to be visiting and was brought up in Blighty from the age of eighteen months. He has a criminal record the details of which aren't explained anywhere in the piece, but his sister suggests that this is for "minor offences" and has served his sentence. Following the whole deportation "scandal" the government has decided to look tough by rounding up ex-cons with foreign connections and shipping them back to "where they came from." This was how it came to pass that two vans of police and immigration officials turned up for Saqib at 8 in the morning and dragged him off to Harmondsworth Detention Centre to be flown "back" to Pakistan. In his own words he says - not unreasonably - that it feels as though he has been "kidnapped by the state."

If Saqib was white and about to be deported to Zimbabwe there would be a national outcry. Let's see if anybody in our wonderful, glorious free press can get off their self-congratulatory arses long enough to investigate the treatment meted out to Saqib. I'm not holding my breath.

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