From: Biniam Tekle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jan 26 2009 - 09:04:37 EST
A heartfelt plea from Betty, 11, to halt her deportation
*Published Date: *
26 January 2009
By Peter Lazenby
An 11-year-old girl imprisoned in a Government detention centre has written
a heart-rending letter begging for help.
Betty Abate Imbaye and her mother Elsa Temesgen Imbaye, 29, were seized by
immigration officials in a dawn raid on their home in Cottingley in Leeds on
They were taken to Yarlswood detention centre in Bedfordshire and are due to
be deported to Ethiopia in Africa tomorrow after five years in Leeds.
If they are deported they are almost certain to be separated – Elsa was born
in Eritrea, her daughter was born in Ethiopia, and there is a history of
conflict, ethnic cleansing and enmity between the two countries. Elsa fled
the conflict and also an abusive marriage.
The two escaped to Britain and sought asylum. Her mum Elsa has
qualifications in accountancy but as an asylum seeker has been forbidden
from working in Britain. She has taken on voluntary work.
Betty attends Bruntclffe High School at Morley.
Betty was ill with a temperature and vomiting when she was seized on
Now she has written from the detention centre to classmates and other
friends, and has begged Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to halt the deportation.
"I am scared, sick, tired, horrified, troubled and all of the bad emotional
things that a kid would feel," she wrote.
"I do not know what life has in store for us but we can only hope for the
"One of the things I don't understand is the fact that people get treated
differently because of the colour of their skin.
" I think that everyone should be treated the same.
After all we are all humans. And as humans we should work together not fight
against each other.
"There is one thing I am worried about, it is that if they send us back to
Ethiopia, that me and my mum will be separated and if that happened, nothing
would matter to me any more because I would not have someone to comfort me
and take care of me."
Thursday's dawn raid was the second suffered by the mum and daughter. They
were seized and imprisoned in September, but were released pending further
The arrests at that time prompted widespread support and letters of protest
from Elsa and Betty's friends and supporters, including the congregation of
Beeston Hill United Free Church which they attend.
Her letter went on: "For the second time this has happened and I don't want
it to happen again. And with your help maybe we could stop it from happening
again to us and other people too. I would like to ask the Home Secretary and
anybody else who has the power to please do it." Betty's classmates at
Bruntcliffe High are organising petitions and have also appealed for Elsa
and Betty to be allowed to stay.
Alana Keech, 12, of Cottingley said: "I think it is really, really unfair on
Betty and her poor mum.
"They just do it out of the blue."
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