20 min documentary about Dungavel detention centre, and the story of Pastor Daly and his family who were detained there.
Revd Makielukele Nzelengi Daly; or Dungavel Detainee 4707
Pastor Daly and his family fled Angola four years ago after he refused to spy on his congregation for the MDLA Government (Democratic Movement for the Libertion of Angola). Along with thousands of other asylum seekers they settled in Glasgow. which had accepted a deal with central Government to house refugees in disused high rise buildings. The working class city welcomed the influx of outsiders, needed to swell a declining, ageing population.
Pastor Daly went door to door, building up a thriving Pentecostal church with some two hundred families in the large community of African refugees. But last December, after 4 years, he was abruptly informed that his asylum application had been rejected. Without further explanation, he was taken to Dungavel detention centre pending deportation on the 23rd of December.
"Detention is a place where people can get crazy very quickly." he tells me. There is constant surveillance, constant constraint. Yellow lines show you were you can and cannot walk. You must obtain permission to go anywhere in the building. You are refered to not by your name, but by you're number. [Pastor Daly was number 4707]. The bedrooms have peepholes for staff to check on detainees during the night.
"The chapel that I started was very popular within the detention centre" says Pastor Daly. "It was the only place that people could go and have some words of hope, and also some counselling from their own."
It was the African christian community that came to his rescue. They turned out in hundreds at demonstrations in Glasgow, at Dungavel, and the Scottish Parliament. They hid Pastor Daly's children and wife Isabelle to prevent them being sent to Dungavel The campaign was spear-headed by Sana Bumba, a Congolese refugee and activist based in London, and a close friend of Pastor Daly's. [Sana's NGO, Project Lisalisi, provides advice and liguistic suport to asylum seekers and refugees.]
Margaret Wood of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees also worked tirelessly, helping connect the campaign to the Scottish media, new legal support, and local politicians, from the SSP, Greens, and the SNP. But Jack McConnell hid behind the excuse that Asylum and Immigration is an issue "reserved" for Westminster, and refused to comment - even though he had been been escorted by Rachel Daly round her School last year.
The darkest day came on the 22nd of December. Pastor Daly was fetched at 7am, and told he was to be deported to Angola. He was refused a phone-call to his supporters, and refused to change out of his pyjamas.
It was a freezing twelve hour journey south. The only break was when he was marched through a petrol station, flanked by guards and allowed to use the toilet - but with the door open, in view of the public. He was locked up over night in Birmingham. "I was then left to tremble all my cold night and morning." he says. No-one knew where he was.
When his supporters realised that Daly had disappeared from Dungavel, they inundated Asylum and Immigration Directorate with phone-calls from politicians, lawyers and supporters. MP Michael Martin, reluctantly pressed into service by the prospect of a petition by five hundred of his constituents, made a critical call to Des Brown, then Minister of Immigration - who put a stop to the deportation.
Daly was returned to Dungavel. The campaign continued to grow, and a bail hearing approached on the 20th of January. Suddenly, on the 17th, Isabelle and the children were detained. "They lied to my children." Pastor Daly told me sadly. "I asked them, what are you doing here? It was then that the children told me that "oh, we were told we were coming to visit you.”
Five hundred demonstrators from were expected to descend on the bail hearing. Leaders from nearly every Christain denomination in Scotland had written to Charles Clarke. The pressure, the publicity, forced the Home Office to negotiate outside court. They set bail at 4,000 pounds. Pastor Daly's congregation raised it - and the family were freed on the 19th.