Detained Zimbabwean Moved to Psychiatric Clinic

Published on Thursday 24th December 2009

A 24 year-old Zimbabwean man who has been languishing at an immigration detention centre in Portsmouth for over a year now, awaiting deportation, was last week moved to a psychiatric clinic.

There are fears that Tatenda Jera might be suffering from bouts of depression, anxiety and general mood disorders. Tatenda came to the UK in 2000 when he fled Zimbabwe's political troubles.

He got into trouble with UK authorities in July last year when he was arrested for not paying fines. He accumulated substantial fines for not paying fares on London's public transport network in 2008.

When he appeared in court he was sentenced to serve two weeks in jail. He only managed to serve one week after which he was taken into custody by the UK border agency for violating his visitor's visa. He immediately claimed asylum but his applications have been denied three times.

A fellow Zimbabwean who was detained with Jera at Haslar detention centre, Victor Chadoka, alerted SW Radio Africa to his plight.

'Authorities here believe he had fallen into a deep fog of depression and anxiety. I think the signs were there for all of us to worry, as he was sleeping excessively, not eating, lethargy and hopelessness,' Chadoka said.

Experts define depression as a psychiatric disorder characterized by an inability to concentrate, loss of appetite, feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death as a final means of peace and tranquility.

'Tatenda is a young man who has been in detention for 18 months now and I think being behind the walls has been a crushing and devastating experience, not only for him, but his family as well,' Chadoka added.

Chadoka, a well known cartoonist is also awaiting deportation. He has published on the internet satirical cartoons denouncing Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF regime.


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