Tag Archives: detention

Spendthrift Suella: Braverman wastes cash on herself – and on cruelty to refugees

Benefits Braverman: how the Mirror reported the way the Home Secretary has been fiddling the system.

Is this what you call value for money?

Suella Braverman – like the rest of the UK’s current Tory government – seems to be adapt at playing the system to secure what she wants for herself and her Home Office. Apparently the same rule seems to apply to both:

The cost to the public doesn’t matter.

So we see that at home, she has exploited a loophole allowing her to claim £25,000 that she doesn’t need:

The Mirror article states:

She has claimed nearly £25,000 in five years for her London house, while living rent-free with her parents when not there.

Such handouts are designed to prevent MPs who live outside London from being out of pocket because they have to run two homes – but a Mirror investigation suggests Ms Braverman uses them to pay the household bills on her £1.2million family pad in Bushey, Herts.

It is within the rules but not “in the spirit” of them, one MP said.

Her expenses claims are all within the rules, but the hardline Tory, who earns £67,505 on top of her MP salary of £84,144, has been accused of exploiting a loophole in the system.

Ms Braverman, who recently railed against a “Benefits Street culture”, told watchdogs she “fully funds” the home she stays at in Fareham, Hants.

But she failed to mention it is her parents’ house and so costs her nothing in rent.

And at work, she has refused to roll out an accommodation scheme for people who have come to the UK to claim asylum that would cut costs in half – apparently because it is not cruel enough:

According to the Graun,

 a Home Office-funded scheme in Bedfordshire … cut the cost of accommodating refugees and migrants by more than half when compared with placing them in detention. The savings came through housing people and giving legal and welfare support.

This week, the UNHCR (the [UN] refugee agency that helps the UK government improve its asylum system) will praise [the system].

The home secretary, however, is intent on overseeing a huge increase in the Home Office’s detention estate, which experts estimate will take billions to fund… The Home Office is also paying more than £5m a day to house asylum seekers in hotels.

Meanwhile, the illegal migration act will, says the Refugee Council, lead to “tens of thousands”’ of refugees being detained, with internal government projections indicating costs could top £3bn over the next two years. A report this week by IPPR thinktank is expected to warn that the law will only worsen the chaos.

The UNHCR’s evaluation of the Home Office-funded pilot is expected to praise the Bedfordshire scheme because it was “more humane” and treated refugees and migrants with civility. Critics say it is this aspect that has seen the scheme effectively abandoned by the Home Office, whose bill gives the home secretary a legal duty to detain and remove anyone deemed to be entering the UK illegally.

Sources with knowledge of the scheme said: “The findings fly in the face of the illegal migration act. They certainly contradict the Home Office narrative and rhetoric of ‘invasion’ and ‘scary migrants.’” Shortly after she was reappointed as home secretary by Rishi Sunak, Braverman told the Commons last October that refugees and migrants crossing the Channel in small boats were “the invasion on our southern coast”.

The report stated that “The King’s Arm Project, based in Bedford, has since August 2020 supported 75 vulnerable migrants of 23 nationalities, offering them legal advice, clothing, mental health support, English language learning and GP registration while in the community.

“The pilot was more cost-effective than detention and led to better outcomes, such as settled status. Fewer than half of those held in immigration detention centres are deported.”

The demands of the new Act of Parliament should not have been relevant to the pilot scheme in Bedford, as its findings were made available to the Home Office last summer. It is not even the only “alternative to detention” scheme to be wound up by the home office – one in Newcastle was ended in 2021.

Instead, her latest development is a plan to spend £306 million creating three new “migrant detention centres” to house a total of 1,020 people.

The logical conclusion is clear: Braverman wants to inflict as much unnecessary cruelty on people seeking asylum here as she possibly can, and she doesn’t care how much the country has to pay for it.


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Painting over a child’s mural shows just a part of the Tories’ cruelty to children

Robert Jenrick: thanks to his actions – and those of his colleagues, someone should refer the Tory government to the NSPCC.

This should never have happened:

After saying there’s no money for anything, the Conservatives hired workers and sent them to a refugee detention centre for children – to paint over murals showing a smiling Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and other characters, because they didn’t want the kids there to feel comforted.

The minister responsible was Robert Jenrick, who overspent on his first campaign to be an MP, charged the public £100,000 for a third home he rarely used, and has given tens of millions of pounds worth of help to Tory donors.

The decision has been roundly condemned:

But when she was challenged on it, the Tory Financial Secretary to the Treasury – Victoria Atkins – actually had the front to tell Sophy Ridge her government wants to look after children “well”.

Here’s an example of how well the Tories look after children:

That’s right. Tories look after children in their care so well that they send them alone to hotels from which they know others have been taken. And what is the purpose of taking them? People trafficking? Dare I suggest sex trafficking?

Tories know what happens to these kids when the send them to places like that – but they send them anyway.

Would you call that looking after children well? Or would you call it something else?


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Legal challenge launched after Dominic Raab refuses public inquiry into youth detention centre abuses

Dominic Raab: he has spoken pretty words about human rights in the past, but apparently the human rights of young boys who were sexually abused in youth detention centres mean nothing to him.

Thousands of men say they were sexually abused at youth detention centres when they were young boys but Dominic Raab has refused to launch a public inquiry. Why?

That is the purpose of a judicial review demand that has been launched in the courts.

Raab has avoided commenting on the reasons for his decision – because the judicial review claim is taking place. Justice minister Damian Hinds, responding to a Parliamentary question, said it would be inappropriate to comment while legal proceedings are ongoing.

He did say the government has “the deepest sympathy for the men who suffered sexual or physical abuse while detained at Medomsley Detention Centre”.

But Medomsley is not the only place where these abuses are said to have happened.

It is true that more than 2,000 victims have come forward from Medomsley, but others have reported mistreatment at centres across England between the 1960s and the 1980s.

Several were raped and sexually abused by guards as children, and although several men have been prosecuted, survivors say the full extent of the horrors they suffered has not been properly investigated.

Lawyer David Greenwood said he had personally received reports of abuse at “every youth detention centre in the country” in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Greenwood, the head of child abuse at Switalskis Solicitors, said he had been contacted by 160 people held at the former Eastwood Park youth detention centre in Gloucestershire, but believes the true number of victims there will be more than 1,000.

Claimants argue that Mr Raab’s decision was legally “irrational” and violates obligations under human rights laws, including the freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.

A judicial review may overturn Raab’s decision and get an inquiry launched – and obviously this would be good for justice.

But will it tell us why Dominic Raab decided not to launch one in the first place?

For me, that is the important question.

We already know of many abuses that have taken place in these detention centres and it is clearly in the interests of justice to know how far the rot extended.

Raab – as the Secretary of State for Justice – has obstructed this.

I think we should be told the Justice Secretary’s reasons for wanting to hinder the course of justice.

Source: Dominic Raab refuses public inquiry into abuse of thousands of boys in youth detention centres | The Independent


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Pidcock nails Patel over racist Tory system that criminalises immigrants

The BBC’s Politics Live had a little discussion of the incident in Pollokshields, Glasgow, when two men facing detention ordered by Priti Patel’s Home Office were released after residents turned up en masse to help them.

It seems Patel is planning to expand her detention facilities. Why’s that, then?

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Priti Patel attacks immigrants again: her policies breached human rights rules on deaths in detention

Priti Patel has been creating prejudiced policies to frustrate or undermine inquiries into the deaths of people held at her immigration detention centres.

That is the ruling of two judges in the immigration court (and be honest, did you even know we had one?) on Wednesday.

It relates to two friends, Ahmed Lawal and Oscar Lucky Okwurime, both from Nigeria, who were in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre when Okwurime was found dead in his cell there on 12 September 2019.

Lawal was a key witness – but the Home Office, run by Priti Patel, tried to have him deported back to Nigeria five days after the death was discovered – before he could provide any evidence.

He took the case to the High Court where a judge halted his removal.

After he gave evidence in person at an inquest in November 2020, a jury found that Okwurime had died unnaturally, as a result of neglect following a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which can rupture due to hypertension. His blood pressure reading on August 22, 2019 showed hypertension.

The jury found that this reading was not taken again due to multiple failures to adhere to healthcare policy.

Given these opportunities to repeat this basic medical test on a vulnerable person, neglect contributed to the death.

So the Home Office was responsible for the death through neglect of a person in its custody – and had tried to deport the vital witness before he was able to give evidence.

Lawal then challenged the Home Office in the immigration court, focusing on whether the home secretary can remove a potential witness to a death in custody before it is clear whether they will be needed as a witness.

The judges found fault, not only with Home Office policy at the time but with two replacement policies:

The judges found that the home secretary’s decision to remove Lawal to Nigeria was unlawful as she had failed to take reasonable steps to secure his evidence relating to Okwurime’s death before starting removal proceedings.

A replacement policy in August 2020 was also found to be unlawful as it failed to identify and take steps to secure the evidence of those who may have relevant information about a death in detention.

The home secretary’s current policy was found to be “legally deficient”. The judges found that the absence of a policy to direct what should happen following a death in immigration detention was unlawful and concluded that there needed to be such a policy.

A spokesperson for the Home Office is reported as saying that it will be “refreshing” its current processes – not changing them, notice.

I suppose we should be grateful that they didn’t say “lessons have been learned”.

I expect we shall soon find that the only lessons learned from this case are how to cover up any further deaths so we don’t find out about them.

Source: Priti Patel’s detention policies found to breach human rights rules | Priti Patel | The Guardian

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Detention of leftie journo’s sister shows police are letting themselves be political tools AGAIN

Political activist: Eleanor Jones.

This is disgraceful.

As the story shows, Eleanor Jones is a political activist – but there’s nothing wrong with that.

She is also the sister of leftie journalist Owen Jones, and that makes this story even more sinister – in the opinion of This Writer.

Are the police using anti-terror legislation to gather information on the political enemies of the current (Tory) government?

That would be a misuse of their powers. But when police can arrest people who are not under suspicion, and don’t have to divulge the information they possess about those people, how can anything be proven?

Clearly the law is inadequate and the public need proper protection.

A political activist has accused Police Scotland of “disgraceful” treatment after officers used controversial anti-terror powers to detain and question her for hours at Edinburgh Airport.

Eleanor Jones, who had been in Edinburgh to attend her grandfather’s funeral, said she felt “violated” after handing over her mobile phone and laptop passwords to the officers.

She was also quizzed about the political beliefs of family members, including her twin brother Owen, who is a high-profile columnist for the Guardian.

Her treatment has fuelled calls for a rethink of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 – the legislation used by the single force – which gives police sweeping powers in an airport.

The force was able to detain Jones in this way due to the Terrorism Act 2000.

The legislation’s notorious Schedule 7 gives police huge powers to stop, search and hold individuals at ports, airports and international rail stations.

It can be invoked without an individual being suspected of involvement in criminal activity and there is no right to remain silent.

Officers can detain a person for hours and retain their belongings for up to seven days. It is an offence to wilfully fail to comply with a request made by an officer under this legislation.

Jones said Police Scotland was responsible for a “misuse of the Act” in her case and said the legislation was used as a “power tool”. She added: “Being an activist is not the same thing as terrorism.”

She added that the force will not tell her what, if any, information Police Scotland retains on her.

Source: Revealed: how Police Scotland treated a political activist like a terrorist | HeraldScotland


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Torture survivors were wrongly imprisoned – but that’s no surprise with Amber Rudd

Yarls Wood immigration Removal centre in Clapham near Bedford in Bedfordshire [Image: Sean Dempsey/PA Images via Getty Images].

The Home Office does not intend to appeal against the court’s decision – but what does that mean, with Amber ‘Lock-Em-Up’ Rudd in charge?

Ms Rudd has already come under fire for failing to release an asylum-seeker who had been tortured in a Libyan prison – a valid definition of torture, even under the Home Office’s now-discredited Adults At Risk policy.

A court order was made for Ms Rudd to release that person but she ignored it. The Home Office then failed to provide written reasons for failing to comply with the order.

So – moving on to the current case – why would anybody believe the Home Office would act on a High Court ruling, even after saying it would not challenge the verdict?

Torture survivors have won a High Court challenge against the Home Office over policy which saw asylum seekers fleeing persecution wrongly locked up in immigration detention centres.

Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that the Home Office policy “lacked a rational or evidence basis” and wrongly allowed many who had been tortured overseas to be imprisoned.

The Adults at Risk policy, introduced in September 2016, had redefined torture to refer to violence carried out only by official state agents.

The charity Medical Justice and seven former immigration centre detainees argued the legal definition was too narrow.

The detainees included victims of sexual and physical abuse, trafficking, sexual exploitation, homophobic attacks, a child abused by loan sharks and a young man kidnapped and abused by the Taliban. The Home Office’s narrowed definition of torture excluded the seven from being recognised as torture victims.

The judge stated that the definition of “torture” intended for use in the policy would require medical practitioners to “reach conclusions on political issues which they cannot rationally be asked to reach”.

Source: Torture Survivors Were Wrongly Imprisoned, High Court Rules


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G4S suspends detention centre employees – but why does this firm still get government contracts?

Brook House is operated privately by G4S on behalf of the Home Office [Image: BBC].

The only question here is why G4S was given a contract to run an immigration centre in the first place.

Shall we consider some of the firms other recent disasters?

The biggie that everyone remembers was the Olympic security debacle in 2012.

There was the fraud investigation over tagging contracts.

G4S has been fined more than 100 times since 2010 for breaching contracts for prisons it runs.

Labour dropped G4S from providing security at its annual conference over human rights concerns.

G4S was stripped of its contract to run a scandal-hit youth prison.

The company even has a cheesy sub-Bon Jovi theme song.

Now this:

G4S has suspended nine members of staff from an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation.

The programme says it has covert footage recorded at Brook House showing officers “mocking, abusing and assaulting” people being held there.

It says it has seen “widespread self-harm and attempted suicides” in the centre, and that drug use is “rife”.

G4S said it is aware of the claims and “immediately” began an investigation.

Read more: Detainees ‘mocked and abused’ at immigration centre – BBC News


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Why is Amber Rudd still detaining a torture victim, despite condemnation from the judiciary?

Rudd is not disputing that the man, from Chad, is a victim of torture but has not abided by orders to release him [Image: Andrew Milligan/PA].

This is inexcusable behaviour from the holder of one of the highest offices in the UK government.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has made no attempt to justify her continued imprisonment – let’s call it what it is – of an asylum-seeker from Chad, in Africa.

She has ignored repeated court orders requiring her to do so, and couldn’t even be bothered to send a Home Office barrister to the hearing yesterday (August 23).

Are the Conservatives now showing open contempt for the law?

A high court judge has said she is “deeply concerned” about the behaviour of Amber Rudd for failing to release a survivor of torture from detention despite repeated court orders requiring her to do so.

On Wednesday Mrs Justice Nicola Davies DBE presided over an emergency high court hearing to examine the home secretary’s delay in releasing an asylum seeker who had been tortured in a Libyan prison with electric shocks and falaka – beating on the soles of the feet.

“The court is deeply concerned,” she said. “Four weeks have elapsed since an order was made.”

She added that the home secretary had failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for the delays in releasing the man from detention.

It is unusual for a high court judge to condemn a senior government minister in such strong terms. In a mark of her disquiet about the secretary of state’s conduct she not only awarded costs against her but also made an indemnity order – something reserved for conduct or circumstances that take a case “out of the norm” and a mark of disapproval by a judge.

Source: Judge condemns Amber Rudd for ignoring orders to release torture victim | UK news | The Guardian


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