Separated from family and friends, isolated from friendly contact, in a foreign land, and suicidal, it would seem only human to offer comfort, compassion and understanding. However among us are those who in "doing their duty" are nothing more than sadistic, psychopathic, dehumanised brutes. Behind closed doors the obedient "duty-doers" spawn misery, physical and mental cruelty and death, what stories do they go home and tell their families? If it looks like a prison, acts like prison, then it is a prison, not a "detention centre".This from Act For Freedom Now:
Yesterday (Wednesday 17 February) in the early morning a man named Amir died in his cell in Colnbrook detention centre, one of the UK’s migration prisons near Heathrow Airport, managed by outsourcing corporation Mitie.
Mitie and the Home Office are saying very little, apart from stating that he was on suicide watch. (See article from “politics.co.uk” here.) But prisoners have a lot more to tell about how he was killed: abused, humiliated, drugged and then denied medical treatment by screws and collaborating medical staff. The account below was posted today on the Detained Voices website, which transmits messages from those inside the UK’s migration prisons.
NB: Healthcare (sic) at Colnbrook is run by CNWL (Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust), which is run by these people.
It took him three weeks to get like this while he was here, and he died.
That guy he came about three weeks ago. He came and they put him straight in the health care centre. Room three. Since when he came the officers watch him for 24 hours a day, maybe because he said he was going to kill himself. When someone says they are going to kill himself they are watched the whole day, everywhere they go.
For the first week, week and a half he was fine. Then he was sleeping and snoring too much. He slept long hours. I believe the medication they gave him was not the right medication. Yesterday about 6:30 in the afternoon he came in from the yard, for the fresh air, with three officers and he was vomiting. The officer said he was an idiot. He was not an idiot, he was sick. Either from the medication or food poisoning. The officer said the nurse knows better. But the nurse didn’t know better.
The officer she denied him everything, all night. He died in her name and on her neck. I promise in the name of Allah he died in the hands of that woman. Mr ****** died because she refused to call the nurse again. The nurse only came twice. When she came out she said ‘don’t call me again’. The officers complied with that.
In the medical centre there is a room for each person. He was in number three. The nurse and doctor here are denying everything. There was an officer watching him 24 hours. The doctor came for five minutes. ‘Hello, hello, hello’ to everyone and then he leave. At 6 o’clock Mr ****** had some medication. Went out into the yard and then he was vomiting. I believe that medication make him sick. He came back in and his snoring wasn’t right after that. I said to them to check him because he wasn’t sounding right and I thought he might have a heart attack or something. I was told to look after myself and not worry about anyone else.
About 1 o’clock in the night I heard him screaming because he couldn’t breath. She said to him – the officer told him to stop panicking and go to sleep. How can he sleep when he is coughing and vomiting and he can’t breath?
They say he killed himself. That is not right. I’ll tell you how. He had nothing in his room. He wasn’t allowed to move from his bed, get some water or go to the toilet without someone watching him. He had no razor. If he wanted to shave they give him an electric razor and anyway he didn’t shave the whole time he was here because he had a big beard.
He was vomiting because of food or medication. When he came to this centre he was fit. It took him three weeks to get like this while he was here, and he died. I saw his face it was all red and he couldn’t breath. Everyone is denying everything in here. 6:30 in the afternoon exactly till 4 o’clock in the morning till he died.
6 o’clock the police come here in the morning. They open our door at 8 o’clock in the morning. In the morning they don’t want me to talk to the police and they take me out of the centre to outside and when they let me back at 12 noon they lock me in my room immediately so I can’t talk to the police. The doctor and the nurse was not allowed to come in to the centre. The police were taking photos of his room. They came at 6 in the morning and left at 2 in the afternoon. Thats when they opened the doors again and I saw them leave.
The officers watching him, they changed every one hour. They moved between watching him and behind the desk.
The officer, she said to someone in another room ‘I’m not going to give you anything. Im going to give you punishment.’ He is going to die soon, he will try kill himself, he gets a lot of punishment from her. I don’t hear his voice in the day, he is very quiet usually, only when she is here he screams and shouts all the time. She wants to give him hassle and he has cut himself too many times, all over his face. You wouldn’t recognise him from the person that came in. He is unwell and she makes him more unwell. Always screaming and shouting – he smashed the door on his hands and legs. She makes him crazy, more crazy. Officers get paid to look after us. They lock us behind the door like the devil and treat us so bad. I’ve never seen this in my life. Me, I never ask her for anything because I know the result.
I asked the officer how Mr ****** died and he said he killed himself. I asked how he killed himself when he is watched the whole time? He said he kept his pills and took them all at once. That’s not possible. We are given our pills by the nurse with a glass of water and they wait till we have swallowed them all. These nurses are really experienced, they know when you have pills still in your mouth. I have five pills and I was swallowing them with the water and one didn’t go down. The nurse, they waited there till the last one went down. It is like they are in your mouth – they know what is going on in there. Mr ****** couldn’t have kept all the pills. It was the pills that was making him sleep so much and snore like that. I am very sorry what happened to Mr ******. He was a very gentle man, really.
And a letter from a survivor of Colnbrook:
I’ve got a few questions for you in relation to the three and a half months you held me in detention.
Why were the Officers at the induction unit so mean and unwelcoming to me? I remember asking for a bed sheet and was given a pillow case. I remember asking for a tooth brush and waiting patiently for over 72 hours. I was treated harshly and spoken to rudely. Were you trying to give me a terrible first impression of Colnbrook, or did that just happen by mistake?
Why was my asylum claim treated in isolation to my family asylum claim? I claimed asylum as part of a family but was detained and dumped at Colnbrook all by myself. Were you just trying to scare me because I was so young?
Why did you only tell me I was on the Detained Fast Track after ten days of being on it? I hear it has been abolished now for being unlawful. Did you know how unfair and unjust it was when you put me on it? Every day, I watched your staff go home to their safe beds, and to their families, and then return the next morning. How did they live with that knowing what we were going through?
Why were we locked up in the room from 9pm to 8am every day? What was the point of this? Where were we going to go? Up and over the barbed wire? What message are you trying to send to the people they detain?
The officers at Colnbrook would always say ‘this is a high-security detention centre’. It wasn’t. It was a high security prison. I even had PRISON NUMBER printed in bold on the front page of my medical report. And yet, I have no criminal record, I haven’t committed a crime. I guess my question is, despite this, did you see me as a criminal?
I saw an old man in his late seventies with a walking stick. I saw a guy who had just had a major operation who struggled to pick up his medication. There was a survivor of torture, covered in scars. I heard people screaming at night because they were going mad inside in Colnbrook. What exactly is your definition of ‘vulnerable’ if you are detaining these kinds of people?
I prefer to call ‘Healthcare’ in Colnbrook, the ‘Inhuman Treatment Centre’. Are the staff there medically trained? Are they aware of medical ethics? Do you know that once I was given the wrong medication, complained of dizziness, and the doctor checked my medication and after 5 mins told me “yes, sorry the nurse gave you the wrong medication.” Really?! Do you know how many times I left ‘Healthcare’ with tears running down my cheeks simply because I was terrified I’ve been given the wrong medication again?
Do you think you’d be able to talk about your problems with someone who is doing everything they can to tell you they don’t like you?
Why are the nurses at Colnbrook so quick to dispense medications before listening to the patients, acting like they already knew what was wrong with them? I ended up feeling that their evil was intentional and a calculated attempt to terminate my life or create complications for me.
Were the staff in Colnbrook told to try and make my life, and the lives of my family, an agony? Were they just following orders?
Why was I given the opportunity to work and earn £1 an hour in Colnbrook but now that I am out of detention, I have automatically been stripped off this same right?
I met lots of people who had lost hope because they didn’t know when they were getting out. Is this why you don’t have a time-limit? So that people give up?
Even though I’ve been out now for two months, do you know I still have panic attack every time I think about the horror I went through in your detention centre? Three weeks ago I almost fainted at the police station where I usually sign, just because I saw two immigration officers walking towards me. In that moment, I thought I was going to be arrested. I thought I was going to see you again.
Goodbye Colnbrook. I hope I can clear your horror from my memory. I hope we never meet again.