Around 50 people gathered outside the Home Office in London this afternoon to demand the halt of the deportation of Osime Brown. Protesters heard speeches from activists, lawyers and Joan Martin, Osime Brown’s mother.
Martin said her son’s life had been, ‘a conveyer belt from bad to worse’, who had been failed by the authorities. She held back tears as she recounted seeing her son handcuffed to a hospital bed.
Osime is a severely autistic 22-year-old who moved with his family from Jamaica to West Midlands when he was 4. Since then, he was neglected by education and social care services, and at some point, he was moved 28 times to different facilities within the space of 12 months. When he was a teenager, Osime was a victim of so-called “mate crimes”: a situation where a vulnerable young person is being exploited and targeted for the purpose of crime.
In 2018, Osime was jailed for 5 years under the Joint Enterprise Law for a mobile phone theft during a street robbery. The harsh sentence was delivered despite of the fact that a witness stating that Osime had, in fact, asked the other teens involved in the robbery to stop. Additionally, the court ruled that after serving his sentence, Osime will be taken to a detention facility and deported to Jamaica. However, following an appeal, Osime was not detained upon his release and is currently awaiting deportation in his home.
According to the online petition set up by his supporters, “Osime is extremely stressed, suffering meltdowns, self injuring, has developed a heart condition which has meant he has had to endure two operations, resulting in a recording device being placed into his heart. He is extremely worried about the possible deportation to Jamaica – a country he left at age 4. He has no family network there and is vulnerable to negative influences, peer pressure and bullying. If sent there, he will arrive at the airport on the other side with nothing and no one and he is highly vulnerable. Osime has asked his mother Joan which bus he would take to see her if he is deported. She lives in Dudley, Birmingham.”
Today’s demo was organised by the Justice for Osime Brown campaign and was supported by groups including Black Lives Matter UK, No More Exclusions and Sisters Uncut. It was accompanied by an online day of action.
According to Freedom of Information data obtained by No Deportations, the Home Office deported 322 people in 23 charter flights during the last quarter of 2020. This shows a tenfold increase in the number of people forcibly removed on charter flights in the last quarter of 2019 (when this number stood at 37), and a sixfold increase in the number of charter flights used.
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