Forgive the long period of quiet on this blog. However I do want to bring this story to you from PAIH. Please consider writing a letter to the constituency MP, the only person who can halt the process. (I will add my letter to the comments of this section of this post) Rather than discuss the ins and outs of this case, I want to highlight my own grave concerns about the period of time this child has been incarcerated. Yarl's Wood is a place I have visited and it's horrible, awful, desolate and lonely. Whatever the political situation, it breaks my heart to think of children and families there.
Please help 14 year old Doncaster schoolgirl, Meltem Avcil, and her mother to be released from Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre, where they has been held for OVER THREE MONTHS since August 2007.
Meltem and her mum are Kurdish. Meltem speaks with an English accent.
They fled persecution from Turkey Germany Germany UK Germany Turkey
In August 2007, 12 immigration officials carried out a dawn raid on the Avcil’s family home in Doncaster
On Thursday 1 November 2007, Meltem and her mother were refused bail for a FIFTH time. We understand that the judge refused bail because she wanted medical evidence to show that Meltem ‘does not want to stay Yarl’s Wood’. It is unbelievable that a judge would want ‘medical evidence’ to ascertain whether a 14 year old girl - who has committed no crime whatsoever - would want to stay in Yarl’s Wood, especially when that child is stood right in front of you at a bail hearing, and can speak English without an interpreter and is intelligent enough to understand any questions the judge might wish to put to her about whether she wants to stay in Yarls Wood.
We are very concerned about Meltem who has been incarcerated at Yarl’s Wood for more than three months now and no one in authority seems to be concerned about this or the psychological trauma she is suffering as a result. After being refused bail the fourth time, she began to self-harm and cut her arms, something she has never done before. Some of you will remember the Ay family, who were detained at Dungavel immigration centre in Scotland Germany
Speaking tearfully of her experience at Yarls Wood, Meltem said:
“I feel like I’ve committed a crime or something, I feel ashamed. They treat people like animals in here – it’s no different from a jail. I’ve been living I this country for six yrs now and they want to deport me back to a country I don’t even know.
“For education, I get maths for 9 year olds, and then jigsaw puzzles, no they don’t give you n education, and even if they did I don’t think u can get educated in there when you know its really a prison.
“I saw an officer slapping a little two year old baby because he was playing with lights. And a mother crying for her baby because they wouldn’t take her to healthcare but baby was vomiting and had a high temperature. The officers were being really nasty like they’re just lowering them down saying words to make them sadder.”
Meltem went onto say she missed her school friends, and her teachers, including Mrs Jones (English), Mr Richardson (Science) and Miss Westoby (Drama). She said:
“At school I was good at science, maths, and history, I wanted to become a doctor. My teachers, they were really kind, and really tried to help me. I miss them all so much, just being a schoolchild and doing normal things, with my friends Kirsty, Charlotte and Natalie. .. I want just to get out of here and see my teachers and friends again. I want to stop seeing my mum so sad and crying”.
Currently, there are 50 children being held in Yarls Wood, the oldest is Meltem and the youngest are babies.
Meltem’s school was unaware until two days ago that she was still in the UK Hall Cross Lower School Doncaster
WHY ARE THEY BEING INCARCERATED?
Meltem and her mum were threatened with removal by Home Office officials on at least three previous occasions but have NEVER tried to abscond.
There are very good grounds for the family to remain in the UK
The Avcil family’s lawyer is also still pursuing a judicial review on their behalf. (Meltem has spent her most formative years in this country, and has been at school here for more than five years, they have settled fully into their local community, and under the Ankara UK