Four years since the death of Jimmy Mubenga, but we still cannot be sure deportees are treated decently

Jimmy Mubengaoriginally by: The Independent 
published: 18 March 2014

The death of Jimmy Mubenga is and will remain a stain on Britain’s reputation as a civilised country. What is still worse is that the lessons of the despicable affair do not appear to have been consistently learned.

The 46-year-old died in 2010 while waiting on a plane at Heathrow airport to be deported back to Angola; and the details that emerged at the inquest, which concluded last summer, are as harrowing as they are shameful.

Mr Mubenga was heavily restrained for more than half an hour while waiting for the flight to take off. Although his three G4S guards subsequently claimed not to have heard him shouting that he could not breathe and was doing to die, several other passengers reportedly did, and after four days of deliberations, the jury returned a nine-to-one majority verdict of unlawful killing.

It should not, of course, have taken a person’s death to establish the mistreatment of those being deported from Britain as wholly and unequivocally unacceptable. With the dark underbelly of one of the more troublesome areas of law enforcement so starkly revealed, however, it might have been reasonable to expect a thorough overhaul of relevant training and procedures, to ensure the racism, violence and gross unprofessionalism revealed at the Mubenga inquest was thoroughly stamped out.

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