Zarah Sultana, the Labour MP for Coventry South has criticised the UK Government for the planned deportation of Joram Nechironga, a 42-year-old Zimbabwean national who served in the British Army from 2002 to 2007, including time on the front line of the Iraq war.
Nechironga left Zimbabwe for Britain in 2001 and the last time he visited Zimbabwe, in 2006, he was tortured as a suspected British spy on account of his army ID.
The father of two was in early March nearly deported to Zimbabwe after he was put on a bus from Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre in west London destined for Heathrow airport.
The interventions by his lawyer and Sultana, who raised her constituent’s case in parliament, stopped Nechironga from being deported.
Nechironga is facing deportation from Britain as he is classified as a “foreign national offender” following his conviction for drink-driving offences and an assault on a family member.
He was jailed for the offences and was released in 2019. Nechironga and his lawyers claim that these offences were a result of untreated PTSD that developed during his time in the army.
According to an online source, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, or war/combat.
Nechironga was on 17 February taken without notice to Colnbrook to be deported but with the assistance of his lawyers, he was granted immigration bail on 10 March.
However, this does not end the threat of deportation. His lawyer Andrew Nyamayaro, is still fighting the deportation order, which remains in place.
Sultana has urged the UK Home Office to cancel the order to deport Nechironga as this puts him at risk of torture in Zimbabwe. She said:
The Home Office’s treatment of Joram has been shocking. Not only are they trying to deport someone whose whole life is here in Britain and who was scarred while serving in our armed forces, but they have also even nearly deported him in ‘error’ — exacerbating his PTSD.
Deporting him to Zimbabwe wouldn’t just tear him from his friends and family, it would put him at risk of torture as well.
Instead of just whipping-up division as usual, for once Priti Patel and the Home Office should do the decent thing and cancel this deportation.
Meanwhile, a Home Office spokesperson said there is no going back on deporting foreign offenders. He said:
The government makes no apology for removing murderers, rapists and child abusers and those with no legal right to be in the UK.
Since January 2019, we have removed over 10 017 foreign criminals.