Journalist facing deportation secures NUJ support

A GLASGOW-based journalist, facing imminent deportation, is at the centre of a campaign by the National Union of Journalists to prevent him being returned to his native Cameroon.

Charles Atangana, an active member of the NUJ Glasgow branch – who arrived in Scotland from Africa in May six years ago – is due to be forcibly removed from the UK tomorrow evening.

He has been granted a hearing tomorrow, in the High Court. The NUJ is urging members to support his case to remain in Scotland.

Atangana, who presented an award at the Refugee Week Scotland 2010 Media Awards earlier this month, fled Cameroon after several articles he had written, critical of the authorities, led to an arrest warrant being issued.

Paul Holleran, NUJ National Organiser for Scotland, told allmediascotland: “I was shocked and really upset when I was told that Charles had been arrested and faced deportation. He is a talented journalist who could be facing a violent death at the hands of security forces in Cameroon, because he exposed government corruption. Just imagine that happening to the freelance NUJ member who exposed the Westminster expenses scandal last year and understand why the NUJ is determined to fight for Charles to stay in the safety of Scotland.

“This is an absolute scandal and a real indictment of the immigration services in this country. The issue of refugees like Charles, seeking amnesty is an issue of high political and moral ethics and measures the standards by which civilised countries should be judged. Britain is scoring a big zero in this case and Theresa May the Minister responsible should intervene immediately to prevent this deportation of this wonderful guy.”

Since arriving in the UK, Atangana has, among other things, worked as a volunteer with his local Citizens Advice Bureau. He has been an activist with the Maryhill Integration Network, set up to assist asylum seekers and refugees integrate with the local community in the Maryhill district of Glasgow.

The NUJ is urging members to email the Home Secretary, Theresa May, as well as fax and phone Sam Okwulehie, group area manager of Kenya Airways – the airline due to transport Atangana from the UK to Nairobi at eight o’clock tomorrow evening.

The contact details are to be found on the NUJ website.

It is also seeking legal advice on the possibility that Atangana’s deportation is a breach of Article 3 of the European Court of Human Rights.