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Britain's Youngest Prisoners: 5 Children, 'Done no Crime but doing Time'

Britain's Youngest Prisoners: (Circa November/December 2008)

Ziyad, Bahabga, Rahima and Elmeliha are back @ School (Posted Tuesday 2nd December)
They were released on Saturday with Zinedine and their parents and are all back in Bradford. There will be a full report from Nellie de jongh later this week.

Bradford kids, still doing time, 33 days in detention (posted 28/11/08)

They had their second bail hearing yesterday and were refused bail. According to their mother the immigration judge wasn't happy with the sureties, so refused to release the children and their parents.

It is as ever unacceptable that children 1) are detained and 2) have to suffer the whims of the judiciary as to the conditions/terms that they the judiciary will grant bail. In cases where children are detained for more than seven days and all legal avenues have not been resolved; the 'Children's Commissioner' should be able to step in immediately as an an independent authority, with the authority to release the children on the 'Commissioners' terms.

5 Children, 'Done no Crime but doing Time'

"Tell my teacher Mrs. Khalk and my friends Marshall, Damian, Asaid and Adam at Peel Park Primary School that I am in prison with my family."  Ziyad Zighem aged 6 years 3 months,

Four of our Children are Missing
"I am the Headteacher at Peel Park Primary School in Bradford. I write to express my deep concern about the absence of four children Ziyad, Bahabga, Rahima and Elmeliha from our school." (See attachment Zighems_re_deportation.doc)

Twins: Ziyad and Bahabga Zighem aged 6 years 3 months, Rahima 4 years and 4 months, Hani 3 years and 6 months, and Zinedine 2 years and 3 months, have spent the last 29 days in Immigration detention @ Yarl's Wood IRC and are still there today.

These five children are not seeking asylum nor are they migrants, they were all born in the UK, denied the *parentage of the country they were born in, by deliberate, discriminatory legislation in the 'British Nationality Act 1981' (came into force 1982).

Six year old planning to escape from Yarl's Wood

Ziyad has a plan folks; he feels that it's fairly simple to break out of Yarl's Wood with the help of his teachers and schoolmates.

I finally made contact on Sunday with Akila Lazazi from Algeria a mother with five very young children ranging from the age of Six to two years old they are all behind the wire @ Yarl's Wood. Her partner had been with the family in Yarl's Wood but he was removed from the centre and is now in Harmondsworth IRC.

Whilst asking Akila about the children she asked me to talk to her six year old son and this is what Ziyad Zighem had to say: Tell my teacher Mrs. Khalk and my friends Marshall, Damian, Asaid and Adam that I am in prison with my family. Ziyad has also said he does not like the Prison school at all, he wants to go back to his school Peel Park Primary School, in Bradford

For a young boy of such tender years, Ziyad comes across so confident, mature, and brave and I could not help feeling that he has stepped into dad's shoes to try and protect his family. 

When I asked where his dad was, he said oh they let him out and he has another job, he went on to tell me he was hoping that dad would make enough money to by him a new PSP3000, of course I am not so clever to know what PSP3000 is, so when I asked what it was, he said in amazement you don't know what PSP3000 is? He then patiently explained to me that it was a 'Play station' and the games that went with it and his favorite was a police game, with the police cars chasing and shooting the bad guys.

Ziyad has a plan folks, he feels that its fairly simple to break out of Yarl's Wood and he went on to tell me how it can be done with the help of his Teachers and school Mates. In his own words he said: If you phone my school they have a phone in the office, but I don't have the number, asked me to hold on while he asked mum if she had it, comes back to tell me she does not but his dad might because he worked at the school. He then said tell them to come and cut the fence down because there is loads and loads of it, he said the poles would be the hardest to cut but once they were cut it was just a matter of kicking down the fence and his family and all the other children could get out. He also told me to warn his school that the electric shock fence was a bit dangerous, when I asked how he knew that he said officer Ryan told him. He told me that officer Ryan had a big bunch of keys and he could not understand why he would let them out and that he did not like him very much.

He said his mum only eats rice with butter because she is tired of the chicken and him and his brothers don't like chicken anymore or any of the food they give us. He said: I like sausages with chips and beans and I can eat all of it.

Ziyad went on to tell me how on Monday 27th October @ 06:00 am he woke up to the door banging and someone shouting wake up wake up. In his words I knew we were going to prison because I saw the police jackets and the prison van. When I asked what he had done that the police were taking him to prison, he explained to me in a very grown up way saying: You see, we are in prison because my dad did something wrong with his papers (this is how Ziyad perceived what was happening). Towards the end of our conversation Ziyad wanted to know why I was asking him all these questions and who I was, I would not like to get on the wrong side of him.

I spoke to Mestah Zighem, Akila's husband in Harmondsworth and asked him how the family ended up in detention. He said he was picked up at his children's school where he has worked as a caretaker for a number of years. The Home Office alleges that he is a foreign criminal but Mestah says he is as clean as a whistle, and that his is a case of mistaken identity.

The family were separated for the journey to Yarl's Wood, Akila and three girls in one van, Mestah and himself in another. The driver was constantly on his mobile (hand held) phone to his kids driving at 80 miles per hour on the motorway.

Mestah said the mattresses in Yarl's Wood were badly stained with blood and urine and the children and wife have very itch dry red spots. When they asked for medication it took three days to arrive

Akila said they were expecting their sixth child and believes that due to the distress and her husband being separated from her and the children in detention at Yarl's Wood she miscarried.

I hope that the people of Bradford and its' environs and places beyond start demanding the immediate release of these children from detention, they do not belong there, Bradford is their home and Bradford is where they should be.

Nelie de jongh, (BFNB) Tuesday 25th November 2008

*Before 1981 anyone born on in the UK was entitled to British Citizenship 'Jus soli' (Latin for "right of the soil" or, somewhat figuratively, "right of the territory"), birthright citizenship, is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognised to any individual born in the territory of the related state.

Source for this Page:
Nellie de jongh
Britain's Foreign Bastard Child

Last updated 30 October, 2010