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Dawn Raid On Coban Family In Cardonald


Statement from Positive Action in Housing, 4.30 pm 4 October 2006

A public meeting by local residents will take place at 7.30 pm tonight in Tarfside Oval, Cardonald.

A rally will take place in George Square on Saturday 7 October at 12 Noon.

This week saw asylum seekers and Scottish residents with nothing left to lose, coming out and protesting against the regime of fear the home office is imposing on them.

This morning another of Glasgow's asylum seeking families was brutally dawn raided. The Coban family who are Kurdish Turkish and have lived in Tarfside Oval in Cardonald for over 5 years were woken and dragged from their beds.

Their son attends Cardonald's Lourdes Primary School. He said afterwards that he was sad and upset at what had happened and what he had seen.

During the dawn raid a home office snatch squad forced their way into the family flat but Cem Coban broke free, ran out to the balcony on the 20th floor and threatened to throw himself off.

There was then a stand off as the Home Office snatch squad withdrew and Strathclyde police took over.

Friends, neighbours and people from asylum seeking communities from around Glasgow and campaigners gathered. They chanted in support of the family and begged police and home office to leave them alone. Both asylum seekers and Scottish citizens in the local community were resolute in their determination that dawn raids must be stopped. They spoke of the terrorisation of their children and their fear of seeing them dragged from their beds mid sleep by home office officials. "If it can happen to the Coban family it can happen to us. Enough is enough." Said one mother who is also an asylum seeker.

Mr Coban was terrified of being dawn raided and had made his way to the Kingsway flats the night before to support that community in their resistance to dawn raids and to learn from them. One neighbour who had been a victim of dawn raids by a military dictatorship in his own country commented that “I knew it was bad in my home country but I didn’t think in Scotland they did this to families”.

After five hours, Mr Coban decided to come in from the balcony and hand himself to the police, who arrested him for committing a breach of the peace. The demonstrators downstairs feared that he was being taken to Dungavel and lived up to their words not to allow this by blocking the path of the police van he was inside.

There was a five minute stand off after police were not able to move protestors who had sat down in front of their van. Eventually the police van reversed around the block of flats to where another van was waiting. The protestors saw this and ran round with police following, to block the path of this van as well. When the police caught up they began to push men women and children to the ground to allow the van to eventually leave. During this one woman collapsed and had to be taken in an ambulance to hospital.

Protestors said that if the police had came down and explained to them that Mr Coban was not being taken to Dungavel, this situation might not have happened.

Mrs Coban was later taken by ambulance to a hospital. Mr Coban was taken to Helen Street police station where he was charged. He will appear in court tomorrow.

Campaigners are hoping to find which court he will appear at so that as many people as possible can attend to show their support for the family and for every other asylum seeker in Scotland who is living in terror of this happening to them.

Robina Qureshi, Director, Positive Action in Housing, said:

"We utterly condemn the actions of the Home Office and its immigration snatch squad who came into a peaceful Cardonald community and created mayhem, fear and alarm after they tried to carry out a dawn raid on the Coban family. We welcome the fact that their attempts to carry out the dawn raid was brought to a halt by Strathclyde Police.

"We are told that asylum is a reserved matter. This is coded language for 'turn a blind eye'. Well, how do you turn a blind eye when you’ve just been woken by the sound of your neighbours' front door being put in with metal battering rams by immigration snatch squads at dawn? How do you stand by and allow your neighbours to be dragged crying and distressed from their homes, and then just tell yourself, 'it’s nothing to do with me'? Basic humanity tells you you can't."

"Asylum seekers are living under a regime of fear ruled by the home Office. The events of this week demonstrate clearly they have had enough of being scared, and so have their Scottish neighbours.

"It is a matter of deep shame that this country continues to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses on Scottish soil, and continues to allow the Home Office to carry out their brutal regime of dawn raids here.

"We call on the Home Office to end the regime of fear against asylum seekers living in Scotland. We also call for an amnesty for Scottish asylum families already living here".