University washes hands over imminent deportation of their ‘illegal’ employee

NEW: Central News report on 28 May demonstration (video).
plus: Local BBC Nottingham written report of demo
plus: Independent video of the demo – interviews, speechs, march in the rain, support from student & co-workers, phone call with Hich in detention centre, etc.

The University of Nottingham is really scraping the barrel now trying to make an (in)credible case as to why it shouldn?t intervene publicly with the Home Office to prevent deportation of staff member Hicham Yezza this coming Sunday. Since the farcical ‘terror’ arrests and extended detention without charge a fortnight ago, no criminal charge of immigration irregularity has come to anything and was quickly dropped. The Home Office is clearly trying to have him removed as quickly as possible to cover up their embarrassment over police arresting him in the first place, a process initiated by the university.

It’s so infuriating that rather than admit an error and intervene to prevent Hicham’s deportation from Britain, allowing him to sort out any visa irregularies (which must be extremely commonplace in a institution with hundreds of overseas students and staff, and quite easily resolved) the university authorities decide instead, in their immense wisdom, to issue a statement via BBC East Midlands tonight that Hicham Yezza was ?working illegally?. In other words, not their problem. In other words, as far as they are concerned, he can be hung out to dry.

This institution is incapable of taking a reality check. IF Hisham broke immigration law, then they did too by employing him. They seem to think that trying to shift the blame for this supposed crime will stop us pointing out that they have a responsibility to their long-standing student/employee. Basic humanity means that they should intervene against the deportation and let Hicham defend himself against any accusations of deliberate wrong-doing. And then to insist that the least the Home Office can do after 6 days locked up without charge is rectify his immigration paperwork immediately (if that proves to be necessary), and then make sure he is welcomed back to work. Is that too much to ask after what he’s been through? This might also reassure any other overseas staff or student who has forgotten to check their visa recently that they won’t get shafted by the university if they accidently fall foul of ‘terrorism’ paranoia (or accidently get arrested for anything else) during their employment or studies.

Feelings against the University over this and other matters of academic freedom and free speech are running exceptionally high at the moment, and for good reason. Nottingham activists must continue to put pressure on it and challenge its attitude of unaccountability. Please attend tomorrow?s (Wednesday 28th May) demonstration for academic freedom and the freeing of Hicham. It starts at 2.00pm outside the Hallward Library, in the middle of the campus. See campus map (library is building 9).