Shetland deportation raised in European Parliament

12 June 2006
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has today raised the urgent case of New Scot and Shetland resident Sakchai Makao in the European Parliament and called upon the European authorities to investigate the conduct of the UK government in this case.

Mr Smith was contacted by Shetland residents and asked to bring the issue to international attention. Sakchai Makao is currently in jail under threat of deportation to Thailand.

Speaking in Strasbourg Mr Smith said

"Sakchai Makao is a New Scot, a New Shetlander. He is as much a part of the Shetland Community as Up Helly A'. Since his arrest in a dawn raid he has been taken from the community he has lived in since the age of 10 and placed in high security Durham prison where he shares his cell with a recovering drug addict.

"He is the scapegoat for a UK government that failed to deport dangerous criminals and is now targeting those who pose no risk to anyone and who have no home to go to.

"Sakchai has not denied his crime, instead he served time in prison and returned to Shetland to be welcomed back by the community. A community that is determined to bring him back to Shetland again, rather than see him deported to a place he does not know.

"There are many questions to be answered about the treatment of Sakchai Makao, about his human rights, about the actions of the Home Office, but first we must see that the courts release Sakchai and allow him to return to Shetland.

"I believe that Sakchai's human rights have been infringed, and have today written to European Justice Commissioner Frattini asking him to step in and ensure that the UK authorities do not spirit him out of the UK while the investigation is ongoing.

"The policies of the UK government seem to be increasingly influenced by an inhumane right wing xenophobic tabloid media talking only to a perceived audience in the South East of England.

"Scotland needs New Scots, it is absurd that we have the Fresh Talent Initiative on the one hand encouraging people to come to our country, while on the other the London Home Office is falling over themselves to throw people out.

"Scotland is a welcoming country, Shetland is a very welcoming place - this attitude and action by the Home Office betrays a complete lack of understanding. Sakchai Makao should be released, returned to Shetland and the threat of deportation removed."

Note to Editors

For information on the Shetland for Sakchai / No Deportation from Shetland campaign contact Davie Gardner on 07748 153 574 or visit the e-petition on Sakchai