sorry for sending you out this extra update today. Would be good to hear feedback on whether you, our readers, would like these occasional last minute announcements or not.
Emergency Demonstration – no more deaths in detention!
TODAY – mon 16th Jan
initially meet at unity centre (22 Ibrox Street, G51 1AQ) but if you arrive later just come straight to home office 200 Brand St, G51 1DH
The third death in the UK immigration detention estate in just over a month, another death has occurred at Morton Hall detention centre. This time by suicide on Wednesday 11th January 2017.
Detainees currently at Morton Hall report the man as ‘young and quiet, never causing any trouble’. He spent his time watching TV, playing games and at the gym. They say the atmosphere at the centre are ‘very low and people are sick and tired of the place’. Speaking to ex-detainee friends of The Unity Centre the mood is also low, no one is surprised at yet another death but anger levels are high as suicides and deaths within the detention estates continue at what seems to be an increasing rate.
What has been reported to The Unity Centre by detainees held in Morton Hall is that it is believed the man was found around 12noon Wednesday 11th January hanging in his room/cell. We are yet unsure as to how he was found or by whom. At 12noon all detainees were locked in their rooms in Morton Hall which is why this time of death is suspected.
The Home Office have been contacted by The Unity Centre for
confirmation of the event without comment.
The recently deceased was of Polish descent. The circumstances surrounding his suicide are that he was refused bail on the 23rd of December 2016, whereby, the argument was used by the Judge against granting bail because of the absence of a surety, his girlfriend, who was heavily pregnant at the time. She could not travel to the bail hearing because she was so close to her due date and Morton Hall is not an accessible place. Their baby was born on the day of the suicide, it is believed he was aware of the birth before he took his life, and that he had expressed enormous grief at not being allowed to see the birth of his child, the decision to deny him this right taken by the Home Office. His friend had also been removed from Morton Hall and the UK one day prior to this.
We have also been told that the individual had not committed any crime in the UK and that he had sought medical help for his mental health conditions and been told to use the gym facilities. He did this regularly.
One detainee while reflecting on Wednesday’s event says it is the ‘mental conditions’ of the centre that put so much pressure on people in detention to take such drastic actions. He said continuously thinking about things that are out of their hands is torture and that detention centres like Morton Hall are ‘ticking time bombs’. For him he says he is trying to be as strong as he can but how strong can he be?
One Unity Centre Volunteer recalls ‘Detainees are constantly comparing detention centres to prisons, with prisons being given preference. Detainees in Harmondsworth, now Heathrow Removal Centre, Colnbrook, Morton Hall and Yarlswood overwhelmingly report on the poor levels of health care and mental health support. One detainee who has since been removed after two years in Colnbrook said it was like a mental institution with everyone receiving anti-depressents and other medications, he even said there was a trolly that was wheeled around the centre each day handing such medications out. This cannot be the solution to locking people up with no idea on whether they will be released, deported, or continue to sit aimlessly in detention.’
While centres like Morton Hall exist, with indefinite periods of detention in place and among the increasingly hostile environment manufactured towards migrants within the UK preventable deaths will continue.
The Unity Centre will hold an emergency demo outside the Glasgow Home Office Reporting Centre on Brand Street at 4:30pm on Monday 16th January 2017.
*Meet at The Unity Centre (22 Ibrox Street, G51 1AQ) at 4.30pm to go together to the Home Office round the corner to demonstrate. Bring banners and placards and chants!*
**Please be aware there will most likely be police presence.**
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