Sep 212011
 

On the 16th of September at 10.00am a morning picket was held outside the courts in Glasgow in support of Alice Nderitu. At least 5 people attended the picket, which was enough to pack out the small court room on Bothwell street. Held in the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre since the 7th of July, Alice was finally granted bail much to her and her supporters great relief. She is now being supported by the Unity Centre.

On the same day, a solidarity letter writing event was organised in Edinburgh at the Engine Shed from 1pm – 4pm. During this period several people dropped in to write Alice letters of support or make cards. These have now been sent to the Unity Centre for her. If you would like to write to Alice to express your support you can do so by addressing mail to her care of the Unity Centre, 30 Ibrox Street,Glasgow G51 1AQ.

We will continue to support Alice in whatever small ways we can and provide updates on her situation here. There is more information about Alice’s story below.

 Posted by at 11:01 am
Sep 112011
 

Detained in Dungavel – facing deportation
Her only crime – fleeing from an abusive man!

Alice Nderitu is a 34 year old mother of two from Kenya who is currently being held in Dungavel by the UKBA under charges of obtaining Leave to Remain in the UK by deception.

We do not believe this woman should be in detention. If she is convicted of these charges it will be a gross injustice.

Please Help the Edinburgh Anarcha-Feminist Collective to support Alice Nderitu.

How can you help?

Join the morning picket outside the courts in Glasgow on Friday 16th Spetember from 9.45am The Unity Centre has found out that Alice Nderitu is having a bail hearing on Friday by video link from Dungavel. She won’t be in court but it would still be great if people could come along to the court to show support for her.

The court is at floor 4, the Eagle Building, 215 Bothwell Street, Glasgow.

Come along to our letter and postcard writing afternoon in Edinburgh We will send your contributions to Alice while she is in Dungavel. The first one will take place on Friday the 16th September from 1pm – 4pm at The Engine Shed, 19 St.Leonard’s Lane. Paper, envelopes and stamps will be provided!

If you missed this event you can still write to Alice by addressing mail to her care of the Unity Centre, 30 Ibrox Street,Glasgow G51 1AQ

Email us on edinburghanarchafeminist[at]noflag.org.uk if you are interested in coming along to one of the letter writing sessions, or to support Alice in court.

Please email the Unity Centre at info@unitycentreglasgow.org if you would like to be sent regular up-dates about Alice’s case.

More about Alice Nderitu

Alice’s story goes back to 2003 when she first came to the UK on a student visa. Studying at college in Oxford she started a relationship with a man from Kenya called Peter Kamau, who she had met here in the UK. Alice became pregnant in 2005 and while she was pregnant Peter started beating and threatening to hurt her.

Alice left Oxford and came to Glasgow to get away from him. Here she claimed asylum using a different name and saying she was from Burundi instead of Kenya because she was scared that Peter would find out where she was now living. Alice now deeply regrets lying in her asylum claim.

After her son was born in February 2006, her partner found her again and forced his way back into her life using emotional blackmail and threatening her. Scared of what he might do if she refused, Alice let him live with her, despite his violence, as she was worried that any trouble would cause problems for her asylum claim. During this time while he was living with her he repeatedly forced her to have sex with him.

In 2008 Alice’s second child was born and the following year Alice was granted Leave to Remain in the UK. By that time the violence in the relationship had escalated. Alice managed to escape from Peter again and moved into her own flat. Unfortunately her ex-partner found where she was living and broke down the door of the house. When he got into the house Peter beat her badly and she went to London Road police station and made a statement against him.

The police went to arrest Peter but the next day he came back to her house and broke down the door again. This time he had a knife and threatened to kill her. Alice managed to grab her eldest child and barricaded herself and her son on the balcony of the flat. From there she was able to shout for help to her neighbours and passers by, and the police were phoned.

By the time the police got there however her ex-partner had run away. To Alice’s horror she discovered he had taken her baby daughter, who was only 1 year old at the time. Because the baby was involved the police took the situation more seriously and Alice and her son were taken to Women’s Aid in Drum-chapel. Later that day Alice was reunited with her daughter at the police station.

Alice stayed at the Women’s Aid refuge for 10 months during which time her ex-partner was seen stalking her on CCTV cameras. The police were called and he was arrested again and spent a night in the police station.

Finally Alice was able to leave the refuge move into a new house. Again her ex-partner found her and demanded to see the children. Alice was so scared that she agreed to let him visit them but when the time came she couldn’t cope with the idea of seeing him again so took them instead to a friend’s house and stayed there overnight. She finally agreed to meet him with the children at a MacDonalds the following day.

At the MacDonalds, Alice discovered that while she had been at her friend’s house, her ex-partner had forced open the front door to her flat and had spent the night in her flat. Then the next morning, before meeting her, he had changed the locks to her flat. In the restaurant, he gave Alice one set of keys for the new lock he’d fitted to her door but kept 2 copies for himself. Later when she went home she found a hammer that he’d left behind after he’d brought it with him to break her door open. Alice phoned the police and they came to her flat and took statements, fingerprints and photos and arrested the man again.

A few weeks later the man came back to Alice’s house. She had been out of Women’s Aid for less than three months. This time he started throw things through the letter box while Alice and the children were inside. Alice had managed to replace the door so he wasn’t able to get into the house. By the time the police arrived the man had run away. However they did catch him and he was taken to court. Alice went to give evidence at his trial but he pled guilty to the charge of assault.

At the trial the man was sentenced to prison for 8 months. He started serving the sentence on the 1st August 2010 and was released in November last year after serving only 4 months.

After his release he came back to Alice’s home and tried forcing his way in. Desperate, terrified and just wishing the violence and threats would stop Alice finally agreed to let the man take the children away from her. It was 17th December, less than one week before Christmas. Her son was almost 5 and her daughter was only 2 years old.

The man took the children to Leicester and has refused Alice access to them. She has not seen them since. She has not even been allowed to speak to them on the phone. The social work department did organise a case conference in England that both Alice and the man attended but it was so intimidating that Alice could not speak freely and no mention was made of the man’s record of violence. No one was there to help her. No one was there to act as an advocate on her behalf. Alice was told that her son had started going to school but that was all.

To her shock, in July this year, the man reported Alice to the UKBA saying that she had used a false name and nationality to claim asylum. Almost immediately, Immigration officials came to her house and arrested her for obtaining her Indefinite Leave to Remain by deception. Since 7th July Alice has been detained in Dungavel detention centre, thirty miles outside of Glasgow waiting to go to trial.

We are certain that Alice used false details to claim asylum at a time in her life when she was in crisis. She was a pregnant woman with a small child, in a foreign country, fleeing from a man who was abusive and violent and threatening to kill her.

Once she had used the false details to claim asylum however Alice was trapped by her decision to deceive. If she had revealed that she had used a false name to the UKBA her asylum case would have been refused immediately and she and her baby son would become vulnerable to her abusive partner and the family would have been in danger of being forcibly removed from the UK. She had no choice but to continue with her false asylum claim.

Alice bitterly regrets using deception. She has told us that she felt she was trapped by it for years and that she wishes she had known of a better way or where she could have gone to find a safe place to hide from her abusive partner.

Alice still suffers nightmares and panic attacks about her experiences.

Unity is calling for Alice’s immediate release and for the charges against her to be dropped.

Please email the Unity Centre at info@unitycentreglasgow.org if you would like to be sent up-dates about Alice’s case.

 Posted by at 4:45 pm