Celebrities call for the end of deportations

Notable figures, politicians, artists and actors have co-signed an open letter published in The Guardian today calling for the end to charter deportation flights, and to drop the charges of the #Stansted15.

The letter reads:

Last March fifteen people chained themselves around a deportation charter flight for ten hours to prevent it taking off. The Stansted 15 were subsequently charged with a terrorism-related offence and their trial starts Monday 19th March. If found guilty they could serve many years in prison.

Secret deportation flights take thousands of people from our communities every year. Parents, friends and neighbours are targeted on the basis of their perceived nationality and snatched to fill a flight that the Home Office has chartered. Many critics have argued that like Trump’s ‘muslim-ban,’ these deportations are unjust and racist. Violence and abuse from security contractors have been documented on these flights. Most people would be horrified if they were aware of the nature of this process.

The Stansted action was the first time a deportation flight has been grounded in the UK by people protesting against the immigration system. People who would have been forced onto the flight were able to stay in the UK because of the action, as it gave them time to have their applications heard. People across the UK are standing together to stop the Home Office breaking up families and tearing communities apart.

We call for all charges against the Stansted 15 to be dropped and for the Home Office to immediately cease chartering flights for deportation.

Signatories:

  • Baron Ramsbotham GCB, CBE, formerly Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons
  • Caroline Lucas, Green Party Leader
  • David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, Labour Party
  • Philip Pullman, novelist
  • Naomi Klein, writer and activist
  • Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Co-founder Black Lives Matter Global Network
  • Emma Thompson, actor and screenwriter
  • Maxine Peake, actor
  • Ken Loach, film director
  • Sue Johnston, actor
  • Jimmy McGovern, screenwriter
  • John Akomfrah, artist
  • David Edgar, playwright
  • Lowkey, musician
  • Akala, rapper and poet
  • Awate, rapper
  • Dame Marina Warner, novelist
  • Aki Kaurismäki, film director and screenwriter
  • Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, Labour Party
  • Sian Berry, Green Party
  • Caroline Russell, Green Party
  • Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
  • Edward Mortimer CMG, Distinguished Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
  • Revd Robert Wiggs, Priest, Chelmsford
  • Pól Ó Ceallaigh, President, Oxford & District Trades Union Council
  • Penny Wangari-Jones, Racial Justice Network
  • Dr Omar Khan, director, the Runnymede Trust
  • Lisa Matthews, Right to Remain
  • Asad Rehman, director, War on Want
  • Nick Dearden, director, Global Justice Now
  • Farzana Khan, Platform London
  • Gloria Steinem, writer
  • Eve Ensler, writer
  • Susan George, writer
  • George Monbiot, journalist
  • Owen Jones, journalist
  • Reni Eddo-Lodge, writer
  • Ahdaf Soueif, writer
  • Inua Ellams, poet and playwright
  • Anders Lustgarten, playwright
  • Josie Long, comedian
  • Matthew Herbert, musician
  • Ezra Furman, musician
  • Caroline Criado-Perez, journalist
  • Ellie Mae O’Hagan, journalist
  • Aaron Bastani, journalist
  • Ash Sarkar, journalist

UPDATE:

  • Vanessa Redgrave, actor
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