Posted on April 18, 2024

Failed Asylum Seeker, 40, Who Wore a Sign Saying ‘Migrants Are Not Criminals’ Raped a 15-Year-Old Girl

Elena Salvoni, Daily Mail, April 17, 2024

A failed asylum seeker whose deportation was blocked after cabin crew prevented his repatriation flight from taking off has pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old girl.

Anicet Mayela, 40, who once protested outside a detention centre with a sign that read ‘migrants are not criminals’, could now face life in jail.

Oxford Crown Court heard that there was a high level of ‘dangerousness’ during the sex attack by the former economics student, The Sun reports.

The Congolese national claimed his life was at risk when he paid an ‘agent’ to smuggle him out of the African country, arriving in the UK in 2004.

The first attempt to deport him failed after he alleged he was injured in an isolation cell at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow Airport.

Mayela was then held at Campsfield House Detention Centre in Kidlington, where he was later pictured with a ‘stop detention’ sign following his release.

A deportation flight was planned for May 2005, but the removal was foiled by Air France crew, who stopped the flight taking off from Southampton.

A source said to be close to Home Secretary James Cleverly reportedly told The Sun that people ‘with no knowledge’ of the situations of those for whom ‘they suddenly decide to intervene… can have appalling consequences for others’.

The cabin crew’s intervention came amid claims Mayela’s hand had been broken by deportation minders who handcuffed his wrists and taped his legs together.

Weeks later, Mayela won leave to remain after lawyers said that deportation would be against his human rights while police investigated the handlers for alleged assault.

He was released two days later and took part in a campaign to close Campsfield House, where he had been detained.

At the time he is said to have told the BBC: ‘I am here to support my friends… I have been inside here, and at Colnbrook.’

Tory MP Marco Longhi, who sits on the Home Affairs select committee, told The Sun that the case ‘raises serious questions about the legal process and Mayela’s right to stay in this country.’

‘My constituents are sure to be furious to discover that he has remained here on what appears to be a flimsy excuse before committing this horrific crime.’