Good news on Precious Mhango, the little girl I blogged about yesterday. She and her mother Florence were taken off the plane today at the very last minute. They remain behind the wire at Yarls Wood Detention Centre and will still have to fight to stay here. But thanks to the fantastic support from people of EVERY POLITICAL AFFILIATION AND NONE, they have some kind of temporary reprieve. And quite right too. A child who has spent nearly all her life in Scotland was being sent to a strange country and separated from her mother, the only parent she knows.
Chris Mercer of Cranhill Project, a community organisation from the part of Glasgow where Precious and her mother live, reports that there is a big vigil tonight by their many friends and supporters in the neighbourhood.
They still need your emails to support their case, which is ongoing. So if you haven't done so already, email firstname.lastname@example.org and make it for the attention of Phil Woolas in the subject line. Plead for the humanitarian release of Florence and Precious. If you have written already, write back to Mr Woolas and thank him for his consideration and this temporary stay, and ask again for release. Please keep the language respecful and non-partisan.
Paul Chen QC, a crusading lawyer and deportation specialist in England, has been working on the case since midnight last night and has won a judicial review. But he is a private advocate and costs money. The Cranhill Community Project has offered the use of one of its bank accounts to collect funds. Campaigners for the Mhangos have asked supporters who can afford to do so to send money to the following account:
CRANHILL WORLD CAFE
sort code: 83 21 27
account number: 10015466
Royal Bank of Scotland
1304 Duke Street
Glasgow G31 5PZ
Leann Gear is the account signatory.
A few local donors have raised the initial retainer for the lawyer, even though some are on benefits themselves. Cranhill, remember, is part of Greater Easterhouse, one of the poorest urban areas in the UK. Precious and Florence will need much more money to fund the judicial review. I will donate £200 now. I am sure those who can, and who were moved by Precious's own words - see previous blog post - will want to help.
You can read immediate updates on Florence and Precious at the blog kept by Anne McLaughlin the MSP most closely involved in their case. If you are on Facebook, there is a campaign group there with regular updates. It is URGENT ACTION: Please release Florence and Precious Mhango from detention
Thanks again to all Facebook friends, Twitter followers and blog readers who cared enough to write to Mr Woolas and who offered help to campaigners and spread the word to their own friends. Don't give up, you have made a difference!