Detainees at Campsfield immigration detention and removal centre near Oxford rose up yesterday morning after an African detainee was beaten and dragged out of his cell in the early hours.
Bob Hughes from the Campaign to Close Campsfield reported: ‘I have just had a call (5.37am) from a detainee in Blue Block at Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre (IRC), Kidlington, Oxford, describing a disturbance developing there at this moment.
‘Amid loud shouting I could make out that guards attempted forcibly to remove a man from his cell a little earlier this morning and, it is alleged, beat him severely.
‘Twenty officers in riot gear came to remove the man, who has a wife and family in this country.
‘A CCTV camera and lights have been smashed.’
Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) and Medical Justice reported that another detainee, ‘Kevin’, phoned to say that Blue Wing was devastated: ‘water everywhere, lights and CCTV smashed, guards nowhere in sight, and blue lights either of emergency services or police riot squads arriving outside the centre.’
It later emerged that the beaten man was Benin-born Davis Osagie, who had been working as an immigration officer at Edinburgh Airport, and had an exemplary record for intercepting drug-traffickers, before a colleague allegedly informed on him for having false papers himself.
Osagie has a partner in Edinburgh who is four months pregnant, and a two year-old daughter.
One of his cell mates, told Close Campsfield campaigners that ten officers in full riot gear entered the cell (with more outside) at just after 5.20am yesterday.
Some of the officers used their shields to confine him and his other cell mate, Augustine Ekhator, to their beds while the other officers dealt with Osagie.
The whole incident, including the assault, was videoed by one of the officers, who he alleged was grinning throughout ‘as if he enjoyed the violence’.
He reported that Osagie was given no chance to go peacefully. He alleged that Osagie was punched and kicked, and shouted ‘you’re murdering me’. He added that at one point Osagie said he was suffocating and could not breathe.
He alleged that an officer replied: ‘You’ll be able to breathe in Africa.’
Close Campsfield Campaign said in a statement: ‘Davis Osagie had been held in Campsfield for three months, leaving his partner in desperate distress and hardship in Edinburgh.
‘Apparently the Home Office has been unable to deport him because Benin would not recognise him as a Benin national.’