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BMI Baby? Not bloody likely!
This autumn, South Wales activist Babi Badalov was deported on a BMI flight to Azerbaijan despite having experienced physical abuse and state persecution there. An artist and poet, Babi was “guilty” of mocking the ruling elite. Hundreds of telephone calls, emails and faxes to BMI objecting to the airline’s role in Babi’s removal were ignored.
In 2007 the UK government deported 63,140 migrants. People deported are often handcuffed on the flight, and there have been a number reports of physical assaults on deportees by the security personnel who escort them. Airlines are key to the “deportation industry”.
With reported profits of £15.5 million in 2007, BMI is the UK’s second largest full-service airline. BMI claimed they could not refuse to fly Babi and that the matter was beyond their control. Other airlines have refused to transport deportees, however. In 2007, XL Airways announced that they would no longer carry failed asylum-seekers who were forcibly evicted from the UK.
No Borders South Wales are calling for a sustained campaign against BMI. We call on BMI to no longer take part in the forced deportation of migrants.