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In UK, Zimbabwean Deportees Go On Hunger Strike

A group organized in support of Zimbabweans being deported from Britain says the 116 people now just a step from deportation should not be sent home under current conditions in Zimbabwe. British authorities have stepped up deportations of Zimbabwean refugees whose applications for asylum were denied.

Zimbabwe Association Coordinator Sarah Harland says many of those whose applications were rejected had poor legal representation so are entitled to a case review. Mrs. Harland told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele that at least half of the 116 set for deportation are on hunger strike to pressure British authorities to rescind their deportation orders. Deportations have been stopped fro the time being in response to critics including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

One Zimbabwean woman awaiting deportation, declining to be identified, said she would rather die than be returned to Zimbabwe. Speaking with Ndimyake Mwakalyele from the Yarlswood Detention Center where she was being held, the woman said she was an opposition activist persecuted for her affililation.

A spokesman for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the president of the Movement for Democratic Change was unaware of consultations between Britain and the MDC on deportations, as the state-run Herald paper had reported.