18-year-old Manchester student Emmaculate Tshuma from Zimbabwe, who is claimed to have suffered physical and sexual abuse from a state security agent in her home country, was, according to reports, “brutally dragged out of bed and down the stairs in a dawn raid yesterday”.
Tshuma, whose asylum to the UK is assumed to be still pending, is now believed to be detained at Pennine House in Manchester.
A petition to Home Secretary Theresa May has been posted to Change.org to “Stop the deportation of a minor Emmaculate to Zimbabwe”. At the time of writing the petition has 645 signatures, but is being shared by members of the University of Manchester Students’ Union Exec Team.
The petition urges May to “stop the deportation of a minor Emmaculate Tshuma because she suffered physical abuse in Zimbabwe from a security agent”.
Tino Mashonganyika, who started the petition on Thursday, claims the security agent “used his position to get immunity and it is not safe for her to return” and claims that Tshuma suffers from depression.
Mashonganyika states that Tshuma was “dragged by UK male Immigration Enforcement Officers with her legs wide open and she was screaming as they were banging her head and twisting her neck”.
Mashonganyika also describes “the look of fear in her eyes when they got to the police station’ due to the fact the officers were claimed to be ‘laughing and joking about her”. Tshuma was then apparently then kept in her cell with no food all day.
Jess Lishak, the University of Manchester Students’ Union Women’s Officer shared the petition on her official Facebook, and stated that Tshuma has “committed no crime and was regularly reporting to authorities and registered as a student so is of no risk of absconding”.
Lishak claims in her post that “as she has been a victim of sexual abuse, the parliamentary committee and Shaw report themselves say she should not be detained”. Lishak has declared this action by immigration authorities to be “both immoral and unlawful”.
Stephen Shaw’s report, commissioned by Theresa May, into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons, reviewed the impact of detention on vulnerable detainees. Shaw called for a “presumption against detention” of victims of rape and sexual violence.
When published, immigration minister James Brokenshire accepted the report’s recommendation that there should be a presumption against detention for a new category of “adults at risk”, which included sexual violence victims.
This news comes only days after it was announced that Theresa May would be facing a parliamentary investigation after a tribunal ruled the Home Office had used unscientific “hearsay” to deport thousands of students from Britain.
The tribunal found that the Home Office had not investigated further into claims that students had cheated in English exams before detaining and deporting them. The ruling on Wednesday means that thousands of students could now return to the UK and claim compensation.
The Home Office has been contacted by The Mancunion for a statement, but are yet to respond.