‘i will never forget yarl's wood’

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  • This article was downloaded by: [McMaster University]On: 18 December 2014, At: 07:44Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 MortimerStreet, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Criminal Justice MattersPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcjm20

    I will never forget Yarl's WoodPublished online: 07 Apr 2011.

    To cite this article: (2009) I will never forget Yarl's Wood, Criminal Justice Matters, 76:1, 30-30, DOI: 10.1080/09627250902924658

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09627250902924658


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    Girl M came to this country in2001 with her mother andthey sought asylum after thefamily was persecuted by Turkishpolice for being Kurdish. After sixyears of living in the UK, theirasylum claim was refused, whichresulted in them being taken to YarlsWood. They now have refugee statusand Girl M is back at school.

    At 7 oclock in the morning in August2007, at our home in Doncaster,I woke up to hear banging on thedoor. As soon as my mum openedthe door, these men rushed in.They told us to be quick: they wereshouting. We were taken to YarlsWood. Its a detention centre, but itis no different from a jail.

    At school I was good at science,maths and history, and I wanted tobecome a doctor. I missed myteachers and just being at school anddoing normal things with my friends.I was in Yarls Wood for threemonths.

    I saw how the other people hadsuffered from being there. Howtheyve just got pain in their eyes.When people are outside theyve gotthat glowy thing in their eyes.

    In Yarls Wood, my mum was sadand crying all the time. It was really

    2009 Centre for Crime and Justice StudiesDOI: 10.1080/09627250902924658

    I will never forget Yarls WoodA young girl (called Girl M, aged 15) speaks about her experience of

    Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre in 2007.

    hard, seeing her like that. I dideverything I could I spoke to thebefrienders who came to visit us andI spoke to journalists, too. I wroteletters for my mother to the EuropeanCourt of Human Rights, telling aboutthe persecution she suffered inTurkey and why we came to the UKand how wed lived here for sixyears. I speak English and all myfriends are here. This is my home.

    We applied for bail five times.Every time they said no. Then on 15November, five escorts arrived, onewoman and four men, and thewoman searched our bodies in frontof the waiting men. They took us toHeathrow. During the journey, I wasthinking: What are my friends doing?Will I see my school again? Why do Ihave to go into a country I dontknow?

    I felt angry with everyone. Whenwe arrived at Heathrow, an officersaid to me: You know if you refuseto go on the plane, well puthandcuffs on you and tie your feet.Tell your mum what I said. Theytook my mum out and she startedcrying more and tried not to go upthe steps. The officer pushed her onto the floor, and hit her with thehandcuffs. She was bruised and cut.He handcuffed her, and dragged her

    off the tarmac and up the steps to thevery back of the plane.

    I started crying, as I was scared.Two escorts held me by the hands. Ikept saying: Let me go. But onepinched my hands to make me go.On the plane, the officer sat next tomy mother. She kept crying he kepttelling her: Shut up, shut up. Theysat me between two escorts whokept twisting my hands very hard. Ikept saying: I want to speak to thepilot.

    The plane moved a bit, but itstopped and we were sent back toYarls Wood, but then we were takento Bedford Hospital.

    It was my birthday when I was inhospital and the ChildrensCommissioner, Sir Al Aynsley-Green,came to see me. We were releasedafter a few days at Bedford Hospital.First, we were sent to an inductioncentre, where I started a new school,and then to Newcastle, where I hadto start all over again in anotherschool. But then our case was heardagain and we have refugee status. Inmy school report they said I was anexcellent student. I am making a newstart and one day I will showeveryone what I am capable of. But Iwill never forget Yarls Wood.

    rCJM No 76.indd Sec1:30rCJM No 76.indd Sec1:30 27/05/2009 16:14:33:27/05/2009 16:14:33:




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