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Home Office keeping torture victims in detention, inspectors report

Categories: Articles:Asylum & Refugees | Published: 05/04/2018 | Views: 684

Disturbing new article in the Guardian detailing the HMI report on Harmondsworth IRC.  Chief prisons inspector says men are being held in immigration removal centre despite accepted evidence of torture.


The Home Office is keeping torture victims in detention at Europe’s largest immigration removal centre despite accepting clear evidence of their vulnerability, prison inspectors say.

An official inspection report into Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, near Heathrow, published on Tuesday says that despite accepting evidence of torture in nine out of 10 sample cases, the Home Office continued to detain all but one of the people involved.

The chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, says that some of the 537 detainees held in Harmondsworth at the time of the inspection last October had been in detention for too long, with 23 held for more than a year pending their removal. One man had been held for more than four and a half years.

The chief inspector also highlights concerns about aspects of the security regime at the privately run immigration removal centre that he says would be out of place in a prison.

Inspectors found detainees once again routinely being handcuffed when attending outside appointments, after revealing in 2013 that a terminally ill 84-year-old Canadian man had been kept in handcuffs as he died in hospital.

Clarke says many areas of the detention centre run by Mitie were dirty, bedbugs were endemic, and some areas had infestations of mice. “The centre had failed to progress significantly since our last visit in 2015,” he says. “For the third consecutive inspection, we found considerable failings in the areas of safety and respect.

“Detainees, many identified as vulnerable, were not being adequately safeguarded. Some were held for unacceptably long periods. Mental health needs were often not met. Detainees were subject to some disproportionate security restrictions and living conditions were below decent standards. It is time for the Home Office and contractors to think again about how to ensure that more substantial progress is made by the time we return.”  Read on 

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