Immigration activists target BMI over deportation of gay artist

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A major airline faces a “day of action” organised by activists who oppose migration controls.

No Borders South Wales wants people nationwide protest against BMI Airlines for their part in the forced removal of migrants from the UK.

The activist group describes itself as “a collective of people who organise for freedom of movement for all, spread information, set up anti-deportation campaigns and take direct action against controls on migration.”

“Thursday November 20th will be the second of such days of action, which are planned to take place on the same date each month, until the airlines stops carrying migrants who are being deported against their will,” the group said.

No Borders South Wales tried to stop Cardiff-based artist and activist Babi Badalov from being deported, but BMI flew him back to his home country, Azerbaijan, on September 20th.

Mr Badalov arrived in the UK in 2006 claiming he was repressed and persecuted in Azerbaijan.

His appeal against the refusal of asylum was rejected at the end of July and had been in the process of filing a fresh claim with new evidence of the danger he would face in his home country.

BMI has defended its decision to assist in his removal. Some airlines, such as XL Airways, have refused to transport asylum-seekers being forcibly removed from the UK.

In an email following Mr Badalov’s deportation, BMI CEO Nigel Turner said:

“I do not have the time or resources to investigate each case myself nor do BMI.”

No Borders South Wales activist Rhiannon Spence said:

“In the UK and around the world migrants are criminalised for doing what humans have done for thousands of years: moving in search of a better life.

“Airline companies are a key link in the deportation industry and are profiting from the suffering of individuals and families who are forced to return to poverty, persecution, torture and the violence of war.”