Patrick Masengo, a national of DR Congo and resident of Rotherham, currently detained in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, is due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Wednesday 24th March @ 19.00 hrs on Kenyan Airways Flight KQ101 to Nairobi and onwards to DR Congo.
Patrick was a long-time active member of the UDPS opposition party. In September 2006, he stood for election as an MP in his province of Lubumbashi, Katanga in the DR Congo. Patrick lost the election, which he claims was rigged, and he and some UDPS colleagues started to mount a legal challenge to the election result. Patrick was also campaigning against the government’s illicit trading in cobalt at this time. Following this, in November 2006, Patrick was arrested and detained by the government security forces, during which time he claims to have been tortured and abused, and denied all legal representation and visitors rights. However, after 5 months, he managed to pay an agent to bribe his way out of the detention centre and fly him to Britain to seek asylum. Since that time, based on correspondence with people back in Lubumbashi, Patrick claims to have a member of his family killed, his shop looted, and his house guarded by soldiers. He is highly worried that, upon being returned to Kinshasa, the Congolese government will detain and abuse him once again.
The Home Office accept that Patrick did indeed stand as a UDPS MP in the 2006 elections, but have regrettably refused to accept large elements of Patrick’s story as credible. They argue that there is no proof of electoral fraud, that his stories about campaigning against the election result and cobalt trade are not credible, that they find it unlikely that he would have been refused legal representation in detention, and that the story of his escape is not realistic. Twice – during the initial refusal and during Patrick’s asylum tribunal in July 2007 – the Home Office have also argued that DR Congo is now safe for ‘low level’ UDPS political activists.
Since Patrick arrived in the UK in March 2007, he has lived in Leeds and Rotherham. In each place, he has readily become involved in a variety of community activities: a community music group, college courses, and a local church (Ark of Victory) in south Leeds. He was popular with many people – and indeed, when a Home Office ruling left him homeless in 2008, he spent over a month lodging with us – and we found him to be impeccably helpful, positive and upstanding.
What you can do to help / Please take urgent action now
1) Fax/phone, Sam Okwulehie, Group Area Manager Kenya Airways and urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Patrick Masengo – you can use the model fax ‘Patrick MasengoKA.doc’ attached. You can copy, amend or write your own version – please quote, Patrick Masengo due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Wednesday 24th March @ 19.00 hrs on Kenyan Airways Flight KQ101 to Nairobi and onwards to DR Congo.
Fax: 020 8745 5027 – from outside the UK + 44 20 8745 5027
Phone: 020 8759 7366 – from outside the UK + 44 20 8759 7366
2) Please send urgent Email/faxes immediately to Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Patrick Masengo be granted protection in the UK. Please use the attached “model letter” (PatrickMasengo JS.doc) which you can copy/amend/write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include his HO ref: M1347893.
Fax Number: 020 8760 3132
Please let the campaign coordinator of an emails/faxes sent:
Free Patrick Masengo
c/o Together for Peace
‘The Fred Shed’
45 Westfield Road
Leeds LS3 1DG
079 1715 7830
Tania Salvesen <firstname.lastname@example.org>