The independent London newspaper

Stowaway death halts deportation of former Islington resident to Somalia

Mali's forced deportation was planned for Tuesday

05 July, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Savvas Panas of the Pilion Trust

A FORMER Islington resident’s forced deportation to Somalia was halted at the eleventh hour because of the stowaway who fell from a Kenya
Airways flight into a back garden in south London earlier in the week.

Mali, whose name we have changed because he is a victim of gang harassment, was due to fly out on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 departing from Heathrow at 6.25pm on Tuesday.

He said there were around 30 people scheduled for deportation alongside him to countries in East Africa, with around 60 others due to be removed from the country on Wednesday and Thursday.

But officials at Kenya Airways reportedly refused to carry them after a man who had stowed himself in one of their planes’ landing gear fell to his death as the flight neared Heathrow from Nairobi.

The 28-year-old, who previously lived in the Cally, is being supported by Savvas Panas, of the Pilion Trust, which houses homeless youngsters in a shelter over the winter months.

It is believed his forced deportation to Somalia – a country which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to – is tied to an assault conviction from 2013.

Mali was due to take the passenger flight to Nairobi, then later to Mogadishu in Somalia after being held at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, near Heathrow Airport, since April.

He had been arrested by immigration officers at the French restaurant where he worked at Picadilly Circus. Mr Panas said he had received “no chance” to contest Mali’s deportation order and was preparing to say goodbye to him on the phone just before his flight.

“He told me that he was brought a straitjacket to wear and he said: ‘I’m not going to be wearing that.’ It looked like a cattle train.
“He said they were then taken off the flight because Kenya Airways don’t want any more bad publicity this week. They’ve cancelled returnees for this week.”

Mali, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and paranoia, has been in this country for 18 years. His parents died during the civil war in Somalia and he has no family there.

His hand was damaged by a hand grenade and he has reduced capacity in his left arm and is deaf in his left ear. “He has a big heart for social activism and helping people,” said Mr Panas.

A spokesman for the Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases, but added: “We are determined to protect the public by removing foreign national offenders who commit criminal offences.”

Kenya Airlines and the Kenya High Commission in London did not respond to a request for comment.

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