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Last Updated: Friday, 13 February, 2004, 19:41 GMT
Loach attacks immigration policy
Newroz, Beriwan, Dilovan, and Medya Ay
The Ay children face being deported to Turkey
Film director Ken Loach has condemned UK and German immigration policies in the wake of the Morecambe bay tragedy.

Loach was at the Berlin Film Festival to open his new film A Fond Kiss and denounced a Kurdish family's treatment.

The Ays, a mother and four children, were deported from the UK to Germany last year after being refused asylum and now face being sent back to Turkey.

They had fled oppression in Turkey and their treatment since demonstrated "the atrocities we do to people", he said.

'Government brutality'

He told how the family had been held in an internment camp in Scotland for a year before being sent to Germany. "The brutality of our government is disgusting," he said.

The father was sent back to Turkey from Germany in May and has not been heard of since, Loach said.

He pleaded with journalists at the festival to campaign on the family's behalf, and said: "The children are between nine and 15 and are stateless, they've never seen Turkey. They speak English, they speak German, they desperately need your help.

"Of course there are thousands of families like this, thousands. But what makes this family unique is that they embody all the appalling atrocities that we do to people, that we do to our children.

Ken Loach
Ken Loach is at the Berlin International Film Festival

He blamed both the UK and German governments for the family's situation and urged people to listen to the children's "desperate" stories.

"This comes at a time when we've had refugees and immigrants, illegal immigrants killed in an accident off the coast of Britain where they were being paid less than the equivalent of two euros a day by gangmasters to work gathering shell fish," Loach added.

And he condemned the UK government for turning a blind eye to the exploitation of immigrants while allowing the press to "campaign against people who we are told are swamping our countries".

It is not the first time Ken Loach has spoken out against the government.

The acclaimed director made his name with the hard-hitting 1966 television drama Cathy Come Home, which helped to change the laws on homelessness. He was also a staunch critic of the Iraq war.


SEE ALSO:
Clampdown call for 'gangmasters'
13 Feb 04  |  Politics
Tide kills 18 cockle pickers
06 Feb 04  |  Lancashire
Loach awarded honorary degree
11 Dec 03  |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Ay family begin asylum appeal
06 Aug 03  |  Scotland


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