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Response to Jimmy Mubenga inquest

Responding to the finding of an inquest jury today that the death of the Angolan man Jimmy Mubenga during his removal from the UK in 2010 was the result of an unlawful killing, Amnesty International called for “root-and-branch overhaul” of the immigration removal system”.

Amnesty International UK’s Arms, Security & Policing Director Oliver Sprague, who co-authored a 2011 report on enforced removals from the UK, said:

“The Jimmy Mubenga inquest needs to lead to a root-and-branch overhaul of the entire immigration removal system.

“What’s come out at the inquest very much fits with what we found in our own investigation shortly after Jimmy Mubenga’s tragic death.

“Several former G4S staff told us about how they’d raised concerns about the use of dangerous restraints and the life-threatening risks they posed, but across a 20-year period nothing changed.

“We heard that poorly-trained private contractors were using banned restraint holds that dangerously impaired breathing, and so-called ‘Carpet Karaoke’ was being used - where security staff would force the person’s face into a carpet with such force that they were only able to scream ‘like a bad karaoke singer’.

“For years it’s been an open secret that the removals system is dysfunctional.”

Read our 2011 report Out of Control: The case for a complete overhaul of enforced removals by private security companies  (PDF)

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