In April 2021, the court ruled that the attempt by the Home Office to deport Nigerian migrant Ahmed Lawal from the UK was illegal.
The court ruled that Lawal was an important witness to the death of another Nigerian migrant Oscar Okwurime who died in Harmondsworth detention center in September 2019. Lawal and other detainees wanted to testify in this case, but the Home Office decided to deport them. Lawal’s lawyers managed to stop his deportation, but some of the other migrants were deported.
The court found that Okwirume died of hypertension and the negligence of the medical staff of the detention center, who failed to provide him with medical care.
MASS MEDIA ABOUT THE CASE:
Irene Nembhard of the London law firm Birnberg Peirce, who was involved in a case where the Home Office attempted to deport key witnesses, said: “These are black detainees and they are not being seen as valuable witnesses. This failure indicates institutional racism but also a failure to see people as people.”
“The Home Office had carte blanche to remove as many people as possible. In the Okwurime case, the coroner may have wanted to run a widespread inquiry into healthcare, and that would have meant lots of potential witnesses,” said Lawal’s lawyer.
The FBI initiative group requested clarifications on the current case from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Justice Minister and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland, and British Home Secretary Priti Sushil Patel. The initiative group considers it necessary to combat injustice and, if necessary, can provide legal and informational assistance to the victim.