Charles Atangana’s case adjourned for three months
7 October 2010
The case of NUJ member Charles Atangana, the journalist who is fighting deportation to Cameroon, was adjourned at the High Court in London for three months.
The NUJ held a protest outside the Royal Court of Justice on Thursday (7 October) to show support for Charles.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary, said:
"We are delighted the court did not decide to deport Charles Atangana today. We now have the opportunity to submit further evidence to support his asylum application to remain in the UK. Charles' life could be at risk if he is forced to return to the Cameroon so we will keep up the pressure and continue to campaign for Charles to stay."
Charles Atangana said:
"At the High Court today, I was relaxed after a nervous night yesterday. The gathering of colleagues, friends and union members outside the court gave me more strength. The court result today could have been influenced by the massive campaign that is on going.
"Now we have twelve weeks to accelerate the campaign. The legal support has been great and we send out thanks to all of my supporters. Until the next hearing I am still in limbo and I will keep fighting to stay."
During the protest, messages of support were read out –
John McDonnell MP, Secretary of the NUJ Parliamentary Group:
"I am unable to attend today's demo as I am in Scarborough speaking to the NAPO conference as they commence a ballot for industrial action against job cuts in the probation service. I wish to express my support for the campaign waged by the NUJ to prevent Charles' deportation.
We have a moral responsibility to do all we can to protect Charles from the threat to his physical safety and his basic human rights if he is returned to Cameroon. This is clearly a case in which our country has a duty to abide by its international commitments to human rights and civil liberties"
Margaret Woods from the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees:
"The Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees sends solidarity greetings to Charles Atangana and the trade union support lobby at the High Court. Charles has been persecuted for doing his job as a journalist and should be granted asylum.
"Charles is part of our community here now and we all want him back home in Glasgow. The British government must fulfil its obligations under human rights laws properly and recognise the plight of journalists who put their lives at risk to tell the world the truth of what happens in many countries. Charles must be allowed to stay."
Ian Tasker, Assistant Secretary of the Scottish TUC:
"The STUC Black Workers Conference would like to express its support and solidarity with Charles Atangana. Charles Atangana is a well respected journalist on economic and current affairs.
"He has lived with us in the UK since 2004, having been forced to flee Cameroon following harassment and detention by the regime and members of his family who remain in Cameroon are subject to continuing threats from the authorities.
"The Black Workers Conference acknowledged that Charles has played a significant role in the local community both as a volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau in Parkhead and as an active member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
"Charles also plays an active role in the Maryhill Integration Network, an organisation which promotes integration between local people, asylum seekers, refugees and other communities in the area.
"We totally support the actions of the NUJ in seeking judicial review and their efforts in securing his release from detention. However, we will continue to support campaigns on his behalf until his release is secured and he is able to return to Glasgow.
"The STUC Black workers conference has longstanding and serious concerns about the fairness of the refugee and asylum system. The fact that Charles Atangana, despite playing such a positive role in his community, could be threatened with deportation to a regime where journalists are clearly under threat and where his life would be a risk if he is forced to return, is simply another example of how this system is not working.
"We will continue to call on the Government to release Charles Atangana and to review the criteria that lead to forced deportations from Britain and would like to wish Charles and the NUJ all the best for tomorrow and would ask you to pass on this message of support to him on our behalf."
Pete Murray, NUJ President:
"Thanks to all those who have gathered this morning to support Charles' appeal. I am sorry I cannot be with you, but you can be assured the thoughts and thanks of Charles' scores of friends and colleagues in Glasgow are with you - and with Charles.
"The National Union of Journalists is extremely proud to have Charles as one of us. We will always be grateful for the help, advice and support given to our campaign by hundreds upon hundreds of trade unionists, politicians of every party and members of the public who dropped everything to say as one - 'Charles must stay'.
"Charles belongs to Glasgow and I wish him the best today in this latest legal step on his journey back home."
Background information about the campaign:
- A journalist in danger by Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, Comment is Free
- Showing our support for Charles Atangana by Donnacha DeLong, NUJ vice president, Stronger Unions blog