Campaigners are set to protest outside the Home Office this weekend to call on the government to abandon plans to deport a young, black autistic man to Jamaica, a country he has not visited since he was four.
They say the way Osime Brown has been treated is a “miscarriage of justice” and that his life will be at risk if he is deported to a country where he has no family or friends to support him.
The Home Office is set to review his case on Tuesday (15 June).
Brown (pictured) – who also has PTSD and a heart condition – faces deportation after serving half of a five-year prison sentence following a conviction for robbery, attempted robbery and perverting the course of justice, in connection with the robbery of a mobile phone.
He has always insisted he is innocent of the charges and one witness said he attempted to stop the crime.
His two co-defendants pleaded guilty and did not receive custodial sentences, and his lawyers (PDF) have said that grounds for concern about the safety of his convictions “include the role played by the discredited and discriminatory legal principle of joint enterprise”.
His mother, Joan Martin, says that her 22-year-old son – who spent time in care as a teenager – is a victim of institutional discrimination.
She says he is traumatised from his time in prison, where he frequently self-harmed, and believes he will die if deported to Jamaica.
She told Disability News Service: “We live in perpetual grief.”
She and fellow campaigners believe the deportation is the culmination of a series of institutional failings across the care, education and justice systems as a result of the failure to provide adequate support for him as a disabled person, intersecting heavily with racial discrimination.
She said: “I am saddened, as I have come to realise that what happened to Osime happens to so many children who are autistic and have other learning disabilities – and to black children, boys in particular.”
She said her son now lives in fear of being separated from his mother.
She said: “When he hears the doorbell ring, he asks: ‘Are they coming for me?’”
Emma Dalmayne, chief executive of Autistic Inclusive Meets, who has worked closely with Martin and her son, and is herself autistic with autistic children, began a petition against the deportation, which has reached more than 400,000 signatures.
Dalmayne is appalled at how Brown has been treated.
She said: “It’s a miscarriage of justice, it shouldn’t be happening.
“It is a common misconception with deportation that there will be somebody waiting for you at the airport.
“He would arrive with a suitcase and have no one. He will step out to no-one, and he is vulnerable.”
More than 75 MPs have voiced concerns about the deportation in an early day motion, which calls on the Home Office to “remove the call for Osime’s deportation, and see that Osime finally receives the support he needs”.
On Saturday (12 June), campaigners will be outside the Home Office in Westminster, before moving to Parliament Square, for a rally to protest at his treatment and call on the government to cancel his deportation.
Martin plans to attend the rally, and speakers will include Labour’s former shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, and a representative of Neurodivergent Labour.
The aim of those organising the rally is “to ensure that those in power are fighting with their conscience as they settle the fate of a young, autistic black man deemed to be a criminal by a racist and ableist justice system”.
Martin spoke at another protest in Birmingham last Saturday (5 June), while a parallel online protest had campaigners tweeting #TimeIsRunningOut.
A Home Office Spokesperson said: “We only ever return those who we and, where applicable, the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the UK.
“It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing.”
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