WAITING FOR JUSTICE: Jimmy Mubenga’s widow, Makenda Kambana
PROTESTORS HAVE demanded fresh reasons for government prosecutors’ refusal to charge three former security guards implicated in the controversial death of Jimmy Mubenga.
Mubenga, a father of five, collapsed and died on October 12, 2010 after witnesses claimed G4S security staff on a British Airways flight restrained him. The 46-year-old migrant was being deported back to Angola.
To mark the second anniversary of Mubenga’s death, family members and protestors gathered outside the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in London to register their disapproval with the decision not to lay charges. With banners, they demanded justice for Mubenga and the family he left behind.
One of the demonstrators, Emma Mlotshwa, a coordinator for charity Medical Justice, told The Voice: “We don’t understand with all of these witnesses on the plane why the CPS aren’t charging those involved. We’re really worried that G4S have been rewarded with more contracts. They were just booted out of that particular contract but they’ve won lots of other contracts and are responsible for a number of detention centers in the Gatwick area.”
She added: “There are no lines of accountability and it’s very dangerous to have the power to have people in a position when they die in their hands.”
Makenda Kambana, Mubenga’s widow and other family members were present at the protest, but were overwhelmed by the circumstances and felt unable to comment.
After Mubenga’s death, witnesses came forward to describe the degree of force used on Mubenga, with one telling The Guardian: “He just kept saying ‘Help me, help me’. Then he disappeared below the seats. You could see the three security guards sitting on top of him from there. And then it went kind of quiet.”
In July, the CPS announced it would not be prosecuting the three G4S guards for Mubenga’s death, because it could not rule out that the death was caused by “a combination of factors such as adrenaline, muscle exhaustion or isometric exercise.”
The decision was immediately criticised by a former chief inspector of prisons, who insisted on an inquest.
Lord Ramsbotham said: “I have to say that in the face of all the evidence that we have gathered during our inquiry, quite apart from all the other evidence that was available, I find that CPS decision, at kindest, perverse.”
He continued: “Passengers reported hearing Mr Mubenga cry out that he could not breathe and that the guards were killing him. There had been Home Office warnings to G4S in 2006 about the dangers of using [restraint techniques that might lead to] positional asphyxia.”
But a CPS spokesperson responding to the protests, said: “We are aware of today’s (October 12) protest and appreciate that the conclusions of the Crown Prosecution Service in this case – reached after very careful consideration and following advice from an expert barrister - are not what those protesting would have hoped for.
“Our sympathies remain with the family of Mr Mubenga, with whom we’ve met a number of times during the course of our involvement in this case.”
The protest was organised by the Stop G4S Coalition, No Borders London and the Stop Deportation Network. Watch the video at www.voice-online.co.uk