The only witness to an alleged case of sexual misconduct at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre is to be deported, without being given the opportunity to testify to police.
Sirah Jeng was detained on Thursday inside the centre, hours before a scheduled interview with police. Jeng alleges she witnessed a male Serco employee having sexual contact with a detainee.
She has been given five days’ notice of deportation, the minimum period required, and is to be sent back to the Gambia on Tuesday. Campaigners accuse the Home Office of attempting to “silence” Jeng by removing her from the UK before she can be questioned by officers.
The 59-year-old told lawyers that she saw a Serco employee kissing a 23-year-old detainee called Tanja last year in Yarl’s Wood. CCTV footage corroborates her testimony. Jeng is thought to be the only eyewitness to the alleged sexual contact and is therefore crucial to an ongoing investigation by Bedfordshire police into abuse allegations at Britain’s largest immigration removal centre for women. Three Serco staff have been dismissed over Tanja’s allegations, which her lawyer, Harriet Wistrich, believes amount to misconduct in public office.