bag per-son

Dawn raid

A dawn raid is a visit by the police, immigration officers or other officials in the early morning, hoping to use the element of surprise to arrest targets that they think may resist arrest, be politically sensitive, or simply be elsewhere during the day.

In New Zealand

Dawn raids were a common and unpopular feature of Auckland, New Zealand during a crackdown on illegal overstayers from the Pacific Islands from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s. The raids were associated with the policies of the Muldoon National led government.

In the United Kingdom



In January 2007 Ruth Turner was arrested in a dawn raid as part of the investigation into the Cash for Peerages affair. Senior Labour politicians criticised the move, however their concern at this has been contrasted by their lack of concern at other dawn raids.


  • Manuelo Bravo

In September 05, Manuelo Bravo took his own life following a dawn raid. He and his son (13) were detained in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre where he had been threatened with deportation to Angola, where he feared his life was in danger as other family members had been killed there.



Dawn raids have become a regular feature in the arrest of asylum seekers in Scotland. These have caused a great deal of controversy and pressure has been brought to bear on the Scottish Executive to end the practise. Several support groups have been set up to oppose the practice of dawn raids, including the Glasgow Girls, the UNITY centre in Ibrox and No Border Network which campaigns under the slogan of "No one is illegal".

There has been speculation that the practice may be coming to an end for asylum seekers following criticisms from a wide range of people. On 1st February 2007 the deputy First Minister, Nichol Stephen condemned the practise of dawn raids describing them as "unacceptable and unnecessary. Some have speculated that this is part of a wider change in tactics on the issue of asylum, moving away from dawn raiding asylum seekers, to detaining families at reporting centres, however dawn raids have continued.

In 2002, Yurdugal Ay and her children were suddenly removed from their home by immigration officials and taken to Dungavel detention centre in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. They were all put together in one room where they lived for a year inside a razor wire surrounded compound.

  • Vucaj Family

In September 2005, Isen and Nexhi Vucaj were dawn raided together with their three teenage children. They were taken to Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre before being deported to Albania

  • Akyol Family

On the 8th February 2006, Lutfu and Gultan Akyol and their two children, aged 10 and 6 were dawn raided after home office officials battered down their door. They were taken to Dungavel following the raid

In June 2006 Sakchai Makao, a 23 year old man from Thailand was dawn raided in Lerwick. A third of the Shetland Island population signed a petition to have him released. He was eventually released two weeks later.. The campaign to free him later won the Scottish politician of the year award.

  • Temel Family

On the 12th July 2006, Servat and Sakine Temel and their three children were dawn raided and taken to England awaiting deportation to Turkey.

  • Benai Family

In September 2006, Azzadine Benai escaped during a dawn raid on his home which saw his wife and two children (11 and 2) detained, by jumping out of a first floor window as he feared he would be killed if he was returned to Algeria. After a public outcry, his wife and children, both of whom require ongoing medical treatment were released

  • Sony Family

On the 2nd October 2006, Caritas Sony and her two children Heaven (2) and Glad (4 months) were dawn raided with a metal battering ram. They were taken to Dungavel prior to intended deportation to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Caritas was raped and tortured before fleeing to the UK.. After a strong campaign, Caritas and her family were eventually released.

  • Uzun Family

On 3rd October 2006, the Uzun family managed to avoid being detained during a dawn raid, as they were absent at the time. They had gone to demonstrate solidarity with Caritas Sony

  • Coban Family

On 4th October 2006, Cem and Betsy Coban together with their two children aged 14 and 3 were dawn raided. Cem Cobain threatened to jump from the balcony of his 20th storey flat rather than be deported to an uncertain future in Turkey, however after 3 hours of negotiations with Strathclyde Police he was eventually led away by immigration officials. His wife Betsy was taken to hospital with complications related to a heart condition.

  • Waku Family

On 19th March 2007, Max and Onoya Waku and their three children aged 14, 11 and 4 were dawn raided by immigration officers and taken to Dungavel detention centre. They were later released.

In Germany

Dawn raids are also carried out in Germany by the police to arrest and deport foreign families whose bids for political asylum have been rejected. A high proportion of these families have already lived in Germany for many years before they are deported. When picked-up by the police they are only allowed to pack one bag per person. All other belongings, including furniture, clothes or vehicles are then confiscated by the German authorities and either sold or auctioned off.

In culture

Kafka's book The Trial begins with a dawn raid.

See also


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