Asylum-seeker 'assaulted by British security guards'

A science graduate from Cameroon, who came to Britain to enlist in the Royal Navy, is facing deportation while the Home Office investigates claims that he was assaulted by seven guards at an immigration detention centre.

Penda Youdjeu, 28, described by his British doctor as a "gentle, intellectual young man", fled his homeland after he and his father were persecuted for campaigning for greater political freedom. He moved to Britain in 2005 and applied to join the Navy.

While awaiting a response, he went to Sweden to study for an MSc at university. When he returned to the UK last month for a Navy interview, he was arrested for allegedly carrying false documents. He was taken to a detention centre in Cambridgeshire before being sent to a removal facility near Heathrow airport.

Mr Youdjeu, who claims his passport and visa were stolen by a man who arranged his travel to England, said he was visited in his room by guards late one evening last month. He added: "They had already told my room-mate to leave. I was talking on my mobile to another friend and they told me to put the phone down. There were seven of them, all wearing armour and shields.

"They told me I had to go and they pushed me against the wall, then kicked my legs from under me so that I hit the floor and banged my head."

Mr Youdjeu alleged that one of the guards swore at him as the others pushed his arms back. He added: "I was screaming at them, 'Don't break my arms, I came here because I was invited by the Navy. I am not a criminal, I have never stolen anything or done anything wrong. Why are you treating me like a terrorist?'

"Each one of them had a part of my body and was doing something to it. Then they bundled me up and carried me down the stairs so my body was bent double."

A doctor who later examined Mr Youdjeu said in a report: "The shoulder abrasions, bruises and the lack of movement at the right wrist and neck are all highly consistent with the rough handling Mr Youdjeu describes."

Mr Youdjeu's deportation was postponed and he was placed in solitary confinement for three days. His lawyers, Birnberg Peirce and Partners, have urged the Home Office to halt attempts to send him back to Cameroon, saying he is in fear of further retribution from the regime of President Paul Biya. They have also accused the Home Office of trying to remove him from Britain before his assault allegation is fully investigated.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency insisted Mr Youdjeu was appropriately restrained after becoming violent. He added: "Detention and removal is an essential part of effective immigration controls, but it is vital that it is done with humanity and dignity and we are committed to ensuring this is the case."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Partner Manager - EMEA

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partner Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Sales Manager - OTE £100,000

£45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific