Several organizations in Britain on Wednesday made frantic efforts to block the deportation of some Zimbabweans, deemed to have committed various crimes in the United Kingdom.
In an interview, London-based attorney, Andrew Nyamayaro, said a chartered flight was delayed Wednesday following a ruling by a British judge that some of the people already in the plane were in danger of being victimized by state security agents soon after landing in Zimbabwe.
About 50 Zimbabweans were initially expected to be deported to Zimbabwe but others managed to contest and block their deportations in court and were pulled out of the plane, which had other foreigners. Indications are that only 25 Zimbabweans were still in the plane last night before it took off.
Some of the attorneys representing targeted Zimbabweans claimed that flight HFY631 operated by Hi Fly Airlines, destined for Harare, took off at 10:59 pm (BST) last night from Stansted Airport.
Nyamayaro, who is representing some of the Zimbabweans, said, “The plane was scheduled to leave at 10:00pm but the court made a decision that some of the people on the plane who were interviewed by the Zimbabwe Embassy authorities may be at risk if they are taken back. So, what is happening in the last few hours is that people have been calling the out of hours court and making representations so that those people can be identified and be removed from the plane.
“So, that may have caused the delay at half past. It is now scheduled to leave at half past six if it will leave at all. Considering the number of people in the plane I don’t think that exercise can be done within the stipulated time unless if the Home Office has a lot of personnel at hand. So, my own assumption is it might not leave, you know, it’s just guess work at the moment.”
Nyamayaro said any developments at night on the deportations would be clearer Thursday morning.
Ephraim Tapa of the Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe International told VOA Zimbabwe Service that it was unclear last night whether the immigrants would be sent home in a chartered plane as arranged by the British and Zimbabwean governments.
“Until now the fact was that the deportations were going ahead. I’m aware that there have been some frantic efforts by some legal representatives to try and stop the flight from happening. So, I’m not sure as to what the outcome of that has been but the British government was kind of determined to get the flights take off to Zimbabwe.”
The British government says it has an obligation to deport any foreigners, who commit crimes in the country in order to protect citizens.
In a letter dated June 21, 2021, Home Office secretary, Priti Patel, said some of the people being deported are convicted murderers, rapists and others who committed serious crimes.
According to the Independent, the British and Zimbabwean governments reached an agreement in June this year for the deportation of almost 150 Zimbabweans with criminal records.