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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 July, 2005, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK
Bail bid in Zimbabwean asylum row
Child by his family property
Demolition of informal settlements have left 275,000 people homeless
A total of 50 Zimbabweans are making a mass application for bail while the dispute over their deportation back to the southern African state continues.

Forty-two Zimbabweans being held in UK asylum centres are refusing food after a ban stopping their forcible return to Robert Mugabe's regime was lifted.

On Saturday, a High Court judge issued an injunction preventing one woman's return, hours before she was to leave.

Her lawyers are to apply for a judicial review of her planned deportation.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, claims her father, a manager on a white-owned farm, was killed in 2000 by Zanu PF supporters of Robert Mugabe and that her two brothers have since been beaten to death.

They are all representing themselves and we are helping them with the forms
Sarah Cutler

Recent moves in Zimbabwe to demolish informal settlements - which the UN says has left 275,000 people homeless - have drawn objections from the Foreign Office and prompted fears over the safety of failed asylum seekers who are returned there.

In the UK, the hunger strikers' protest against the lifting of the ban is ending its 11th day.

'Bail applied for'

Sarah Cutler, policy and research officer for Bail for Immigration Detainees, confirmed the protesters had applied for bail.

"We listed the applications on Friday and they will be happening on Wednesday," she said.

"Between 40 and 50 detainees are due to apply for bail. They are all representing themselves and we are helping them with the forms."

It is repulsive that they should be sent back into the jaws of the regime that ... has tortured them or murdered members of their immediate family
Kate Hoey

Detainees held in Yarl's Wood and Campsfield House will have their bail hearings at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in Birmingham while those in Colnbrook, Harmondsworth, Dover, Haslar and Tinsley House will have theirs in London.

Labour MP Kate Hoey called on British Airways to refuse to fly the hunger strikers back to Zimbabwe.

Demonstrations are planned for Monday to be held outside BA offices in Piccadilly, London, and Deansgate, Manchester.

Ms Hoey said: "In their weakened state and with their mental faculties becoming increasingly impaired, it cannot be safe for these people to be loaded onto flights where they will pose a risk to the safety of other passengers.

"And in any case, it is repulsive that they should be sent back into the jaws of the regime that in many cases has tortured them or murdered members of their immediate family.

"It is appalling that the Home Office justifies its action on the grounds that they don't have substantiated evidence of maltreatment of returnees."




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