Monday, 25 April 2016

Sipho's Year in Detention

"Someone hanged himself in the bathroom.  I found him before he lost his life and raised the alarm....I've already dealt with one death in detention.  Pls pls do something, thanks."

If you join our visitors group for The Verne, you too could have the excitement of getting a text like this in the middle of the night.  This former prison was turned into a Detention Removal Centre two years ago.

The man I visit got anonymous death threats on his phone in his home country.  He had been asking the police questions about how his brother was killed.  When he went back to the  police to report the death threats, they checked the phone out of sight, then told him that he had given them a phone without a simcard.

Sipho (not his real name) got a passport, in a false name so his country's border control wouldn't know he had left, and came back to the UK to ask for asylum.  He had lived in the UK for twenty years and has children and a grandchild here.

That was over a year ago.  Since then he has been locked up in detention centres.

The Home Office wants him to go home as they say his country is safe.  He has been refused bail twice and kept in prison although he is not a criminal and carries the scars of torture on his body.

There are rules in this country that people who have been tortured should not be kept in detention.  He has a certificate signed by a doctor to prove this but it has not got him out of detention so far.

The Home Office ignores their own rules and I don't know how they get away with it.

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