Colin Firth speaks out against Sehar’s detention and deportation.
In Monday’s Guardian, Colin Firth speaks out against the continued detention of children and families and the appalling circumstances that led to the forcible return of Sehar Shebaz to Pakistan.
I am distressed to learn that only days after the government agreed to end the iniquity of child detention, a mother and baby were summarily arrested, detained and deported last week. Sehar Shebaz – from Pakistan – and her baby Wania, who have been living lawfully in Glasgow for three years, were snatched on Monday when reporting as required every fortnight to the authorities, whisked to Dungaval prison, detained and then taken the 350 miles to Yarl’s Wood detention centre. At Yarl’s Wood they were segregated from fellow detainees in the “family care suite”, then taken to the airport on Saturday evening and flown to Pakistan.Shebaz is the victim of well-documented domestic violence in the UK. Her escape from her husband is extremely likely to incur retributive violence when she sets foot in Pakistan. Her life and her baby’s are at serious risk. Damian Green, the immigration minister, refused to give Shebaz compassionate leave to remain despite receiving copies of police reports and letters from Blackburn Women’s Aid confirming she was subjected to domestic violence. I urge the new government to demonstrate civilised and compassionate values by doing everything in its power to secure Shebaz and her baby’s safety, to stop the shameful cruelty of arresting and detaining children and their parents, and to release the families currently being held without prevarication.Colin FirthLondon