THE CASE OF TUNDE ADEKIYESI - ANOTHER MAN CLEARED OF IMMIGRATION CHARGES
Residents Against Racism highlighted the case last year of Tunde Adekiyesi, who was arrested at Dublin Airport for apparently having no ID, and as a result appeared in District Court on December 8th, 2000, charged under the Illegal Aliens Act, 1935. Tunde, who works at Dublin Airport packing in-flight meals, is also studying law at the Dublin Law School. Tunde did nothing wrong when he arrived at the Airport to meet a friend. As his friend didn't arrive, Tunde enquired at the information desk, where they told him to go to immigration.
"They told me to go to immigration, to ask themÉThere was an immigration officer there who started questioning me, asking me where I came from, to show him proof of my identity. I showed him all these cards [an ISIC card, Dublin School of Law student card, CIE travel card, EHB medical card, Dublin Airport employee's ID card]ÉBut the immigration officer said they weren't enough. He asked me if I was an asylum seeker or a refugee. I told him I was an asylum seeker. He said: "Go back to Nigeria. We don't want you here."
Tunde was subsequently taken by the police to a garda station where he was charged, in a trumped-up case. As the Irish Examiner's Katherine Smyth notes:
'His arrest was not an isolated one. Dublin solicitors confirm an escalating number of charges connecting asylum seekers and identity papers, all brought under the Illegal Aliens Act, 1935.'
['Asylum seekers plagued by legally questionable ID arrests' The Irish Examiner,
Thursday 4th January, 2001].
In our Winter 2000 edition of RAR Report, where we highlighted Tunde's case, we stated that 'he (Tunde) had plenty of ID, and his refugee card was in his car two minutes walk awayÉthis case is a stupid waste of time, and was just an excuse for racist abuseÉ'
Indeed, an investigation by Residents Against Racism can reveal that ONE immigration official appears to be associated with, or involved to varying extents, in a worrying number of such cases. Irish people may not want to admit it, but objective evidence (i.e. not just the opinion of Residents Against Racism, the Anti Racism Campaign, or others) points to some level of institutionalised racism within the ranks of the Gardai and immigration police. According to the Irish Refugee Council, there have been six similar cases to Tunde's, where asylum-seekers and registered aliens have been arrested for apparently having no ID, and in each of these instances, they resulted in VICTORIES FOR EACH DEFENDANT.
As Katheryn Smyth notes: 'None of the solicitors defending asylum seekers has lost a case. Nor are they aware of any successful prosecutions under the  Act.'
Residents Against Racism will continue to monitor the activities of the immigration police. As the first point of contact with asylum-seekers and refugees coming to our country, it is vital that they have an adequate training, awareness and skills relevant to dealing with different ethnic and cultural groupings. Worryingly, it appears that the Department of Justice still fail to acknowledge, much less DO SOMETHING about this problem.
NO CHANGE THERE THENÉ
Although Tunde was successful with his case, there is in fact a second identical and directly related case - that of Ola Tunde Bello.
Tunde Adekiyesi was arrested under the Aliens Act, 1935 (for having no identification) while waiting for his friend Ola Tunde, who was on an internal flight from Cork.
Ola Tunde is a businessman, living in Cork, and has residency. His wife had taken his id papers with her to Dublin, where he was going to meet her in the Department of Justice to take care of some paperwork.
Although Ola did have other forms of identification, he was also arrested under the Aliens Act, 1935 which has been increasingly used by the gardai and immigration officials as a reliable way to put asylum seekers and immigrants in prison on ridiculous charges.
Charges against Ola Tunde have not been dropped and he is due up in court in the Bridewell on 20th March.
For those of you who wish to lend your support Ola against what are ludicrous charges, under antiquated legislation, his court case is due to take place in the Bridewell, Chancery Place, in Court No. 51 at 10. 30 am (20th March).
A second injustice perpetrated against asylum seekers has largely gone unnoticed in the recent past. The introduction of new legislation in late 2000 effectively means that it is now illegal to report on certain aspects of any cases, or events involving asylum seekers in Ireland. For instance, the media are nowBANNED from publishing photographs or naming asylum seekers involved in, say, incidents of racist abuse, deportation cases or even run-of-the-mill feature pieces in the newspapers. The only reason that Tunde's case was reported in the Irish Examiner, is that he was obliged to contact the Department of Justice, notifying them that he was giving the Irish Examiner permission to report on his case and use his name. The paper also was required to likewise take legal advice on naming Tunde and publishing a large photograph of him.
The long-term aim of this censorship of asylum seekers and refugees is to dehumanise them and their stories. The general tenet of Minister O' Donoghue's claims are that: a) the majority of asylum seekers coming into Ireland are, in fact economic migrants and b) that no racism whatsoever exists in the treatment of Department of Justice, the Police, immigration officials or other state bodies in their treatment of asylum seekers.
By banning newspaper editors and journalists from telling the stories and preventing the investigation of relevant cases (of racism, harassment, deportations etc.), Minister O' Donoghue is ensuring that racism in Ireland is perpetuated. The myths - that asylum seekers don't want to work, are living in the lap of luxury, and that the Department of Justice Inequality and Racism isn't racist - cannot be challenged or disproven. Further, it enables the Department of Justice to deport, detain and arrest asylum seekers with relative impunity - if no-one hears about an injustice, then it simply does not exist.