View Full Version : Eyewitness: My family were victims of a dawn raid

11-28-2005, 09:29 AM
Eyewitness: My family were victims of a dawn raid
By Costia Loban, aged 12 - Scottish Sunday Herald (http://www.sundayherald.com/print53115)

‘They werewearing black uniforms and helmets. They also had handcuffs, and batons tucked into their belts. They pointed at them and told us if we tried to run away they would use them on us. I thought we were being robbed,” says Costia “It was about six o’clock in the morning and everyone was sleeping. They knocked on the door hard and shouted very loudly: ‘This is the Home Office. Open the door.’ My mum opened it and before she took the lock off they just broke in. They broke the lock and nearly broke my mum’s arm. About three people came into my bedroom. I think it was two women and one man. They asked me to get up, get dressed and brush my teeth. I put on my school uniform because I thought it was a normal day. I thought they were there because there was a fire or some other emergency.

“But when they took me through to the living room where my dad was sitting, they told me to change into other clothes – I wasn’t going to school. I knew then something bad was happening.

“There were about eight of them in the house. I think two were women. They never gave us any letters to tell us it was going to happen, they just came that morning and broke in.

“I was sleepy. I didn’t know what was going on. They told us to shut up and be quiet and say nothing. One of them said that if you don’t be quiet we will use this, and he pointed to the baton on his belt. They separated us and took us all in different rooms. I was taken to my bedroom, my dad was in the living room and my mum went into her bedroom. My mum wanted to go the toilet and have a shower but a male officer came in and told her she couldn’t. He shut the door, so my mum couldn’t go to the toilet or wash.

“They gave us bags and told us to pack some things, but we didn’t know what to take or how much to take. We were packing, putting clothes in the bags. When the bag was half full, they told us to hurry up. My mum wanted to take more stuff but she was not allowed.

“While this was going on, one man was searching the house. I don’t know what he was looking for but he even turned the sofa upside down. They asked if we had passports but we didn’t because the Home Office had them.

“I was packing but my dad was not allowed to do anything. He was just told to get dressed and go to the living room. He was sitting there handcuffed, with two men in the black uniforms around him, just standing up looking down on him. They had covered his hands with a blanket or something, so at first I couldn’t see the handcuffs.

“We weren’t allowed to eat. We asked them if we could but they said no. They didn’t give a reason, just that we weren’t allowed to eat. They told us that we also weren’t allowed to talk. I don’t know why, we just weren’t allowed.

“They said that they were taking us to a detention centre, to Dungavel, and that we had to leave the country. After we had packed they asked me who I wanted to go with in the car to the detention centre – my mum or my dad. There were two vans and I said I wanted to go with my mum.

“Two days before the dawn raids, the same men and women from the immigration office came to our house and asked about what we do and about our health. They told us not to worry, that it was a normal check. It was a Sunday at 7am. They walked around the flat and checked our rooms then went away.

“The raid lasted more than an hour, because they came at six o’clock and we went down to the vans at about half past seven. But it all happened so quickly. I didn’t really know what was happening. When we were being taken out two men, one at each side of me, held my hands very tightly . They nearly broke my mum’s hand when they twisted it hard.

“ I asked my dad what we did wrong. He told me that someone made a mistake . When I look back on what happened I am very scared and sad. I just want to forget it.

“I don’t sleep very well and we went to the doctor to discuss things. She said I might have go to a psychologist. I have bad dreams and I am scared to go to bed . During the raid nobody speaks to you and you just feel like an animal in a zoo. I will never go to the zoo because now I understand what animals there feel like.”