Investigative journalist Charles Atangana first came to Scotland 6 years ago as an asylum seeker from Cameroon where he, like many other Cameroonian journalists critical of the regime has been persecuted, jailed, tortured. Well known journalist Bibi Ngota died in prison this year. Charles himself nearly died after torture and terrible conditions and was transferred to hospital as the authorities did not want him to die yet as they hoped to force some information from him, namely, his sources, which he had always refused to divulge. His family has had to go into hiding for their own safety.
Once in Scotland, he settled in very well and became active in the local community and volunteered for lots of things e.g. he worked as a volunteer in Parkhead Citizens Advice Bureau, he taught basketball, and he was active in the Maryhill Integration Network. He considered Scotland his new home and he was well liked by all who knew him or worked with him in Glasgow.
But 6 years later, his asylum claim has been rejected (In 2000 the Home Office's refusal rate for Cameroonians was 81% and this rose to 87% in 2006 despite the fact that Cameroon is notorious for its treatment of all those who dare to disagree with its corruption and brutality and in spite of the dozens of ex-judicial killings.) In short, it is very likely that Charles will be murdered or at the very least incarcerated and tortured and die in foul conditions if he is deported.
The NUJ has championed his cause along with several other organisations and individuals and is being backed by the TUC. On August 2nd 2010, the NUJ called a demonstration, supported by the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, attended by individuals from political parties such as the SNP and SSP, individuals from Citizens Advice Bureaux and many more. It was held in Brand Street in front of the Home Office building where asylum seekers have to sign regularly. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rpC99akmrw and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA7BGapJwS8 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvEo_SXFx20
Brand St is very near Cessnock subway station and near Ibrox, an area that is notorious for Orange Loyalists and racists, and the UK Borders Agency apparently thinks this is an appropriate site for an office that refugees are expected to attend on a regular basis! Perhaps the area was chosen as a deliberate psychological deterrant to would-be immigrants.
Charles was scheduled to be put on a plane later in the evening of August 2nd but as a result of campaigning and the demonstration, his deportation was temporarily halted. It was hoped that he would have a chance to make an appeal and have his case reviewed thoroughly but now he has been moved to Dover Immigration Removal Centre. It is now a matter of urgency for as many people as possible to speak out for Charles (Home Office reference number A1227296) and contact their elected representatives and Home Secretary Theresa May as soon as possible. The TUC is now calling upon Theresa May to use her discretionary powers to stop the deportation of Charles Atangana. More information on Charles, Cameroon, contact details for the Home Secretary, and how to find and easily contact your local elected representative (MP or MSP or MEP etc) can be found on the NUJ site at http://www.nuj.org.uk/innerPagenuj.html?docid=1695