I went to Bedfordshire yesterday to say goodbye to a friend. She has been in Yarl’s Wood detention centre since last week. Yarl’s Wood is an immigration removal centre and she was taken there because her asylum case has been refused.
It was very sad to see her losing a lot of weight and almost looking like a different person. To me she has always been an example of a strong woman, and seeing her broken and hopeless was not something that I would have expected to see. She lived in the UK for nearly 5 years, went through many changes and still has to finish her divorce from her husband who is white and British. Unfortunately her reasons were not accepted by the Home Office or Upper Tribunal.
Her flight to Africa had been booked for 7pm last night and she told me that this nightmare has to end one way or another. She said ”I am not a criminal and no one could take my freedom”. All her applications already been refused and she had been told that she should be on the flight on Monday. However, instead of taking her to the airport, they have moved her to another detention facility. I do not know what the reason is and I have never been in detention before, but I know how it feels living in limbo and fear. I hope her nightmare ends soon. One way or another.