News & Views Monday 229 January to Sunday 4 th February 2018  

Asylum Seekers Win Case Over Smoking In Immigration Detention Centres

Two asylum seekers have won a legal challenge against the government when a high court judge ruled on Thursday that it was a breach of their human rights to allow smoking in immigration detention centres. The two men, both Muslims, also succeeded in a claim that they should have an option for prayer other than next to uncovered cell toilets, which they described as “deeply embarrassing and humiliating”.

Mr Justice Holman agreed that forcing Muslim detainees to pray next to toilets when locked in their cells overnight amounted to indirect discrimination and that allowing smoking in “enclosed or substantially enclosed areas” was unlawful. As a result of his ruling, the home secretary, Amber Rudd, must take steps to rectify both problems across all 10 immigration removal centres in the UK. There may be concerns, however, about the potential for unrest among the smoking detainees if they are unable to smoke in their cells.

The case was brought by Mohammed Hussein, 23, from Ethiopia, and Muhammad Rahman, 35, from Bangladesh, both former detainees at Brook House immigration removal centre. They said that, despite being smokers themselves, sleeping in small and poorly ventilated three-man cells where all three detainees were smokers was intolerable.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

Man With Mental Health Issues Who Sewed His Lips Together Being 'Unlawfully' Held In Detention

A mentally ill client of Asif Anwar, Immigration Law solicitor at Duncan Lewis, is being held in an immigration detention centre despite his position as a vulnerable individual as defined by the Shaw’s Adults at Risk policy. The client, Zayed Khan, sought asylum in the UK after fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan, only to be detained to the detriment of his well-being and mental health. This comes after the 10th October 2017, when Duncan Lewis’ successful challenge to the government’s definition of torture under their Adults at Risk policy changed the way torture victims may be identified, to ensure all vulnerable individuals are not re-traumatised through detention.

As a potential victim of torture himself, according to a medical report, it should follow that Mr Khan’s detention is unlawful. The Independent details the horrific extent of Mr Khan’s neglect which has seen him self-harming in protest against his continued detention. Twenty days after he reportedly sewed his lips together, Mr Khan remains in detention on ‘suicide watch’, without access to any professional psychological or psychiatric help.

Asif Anwar, as Mr Khan’s solicitor, is doing everything he can to pursue his client’s immediate release. Asif states: “Several attempts were made to release Mr Khan from detention prior to this horrific incident. The Secretary of State was aware that he was a potentially vulnerable asylum seeker and has exacerbated the deterioration of his mental health by maintaining his detention…It is concerning how little was done to prevent the incident from happening, particularly as instructing solicitors had notified the Secretary of State of Mr Khan’s will to self-harm.” . Read more


Early Day Motion 878: US Sanctions on Nicaragua

That this House is extremely concerned by US proposals to implement sanctions against Nicaragua through the so - called NICA Act; notes that if passed, the Act will serve only to destabilise Nicaragua and further impoverish what is already the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere; further notes that the proposed Act will put at risk a whole raft of social programmes put in place since 2007; recognises that these programmes, directed at the poorest and most vulnerable, have already led to a 50 per cent reduction in levels of poverty and maternal mortality; and calls on the Government to express its condemnation of these US proposals and represent its opposition to all steps taken by the US Administration to pass and implement the Act.

House of Commons, 30/01/2018,

Put Your MP to Work – Ask Them to Sign EDM  878   
To find your MP go here:

CPIN: Libya: Security and Humanitarian Situation

1.1 Basis of claim

1.1.1 That the general humanitarian situation in Libya is so severe that a person is at real risk of serious harm as defined in Articles 15(a) and (b) of the European Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2014 (the Qualification Directive); and/or

1.1.2 That the general security situation in Libya presents a real risk of serious harm as defined in Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive.

Published on Refworld, 29/01/208

Immigration Enforcement Transparency

Data Q3 2017
Data Foreign National Prisoners (FNOs) Q3 2017

Released from Prison: 1,306 Released from prison without consideration for deportation: 4 Transferred to Immigration Detention: 1,297

FNOs released into the community by reason for release  
Immigration Judge grants bail: 384 Home Office grants Bail: 146 Immigration Judge allows FNO’s appeal against deportation: 8 Released at the end of the prison sentence: 6 Mental Health Discharge: 9

FNOs released into the community who were eligible for deportation
Total 553 of which deported 5, concluded 3, outstanding at end of quarter 545, of which:- Being case worked 202 Legal issues 173 Return issues 132, further criminal proceedings 16

FNOs subject to deportation action living in the community and the length of time since release
Total 5,933, lengths of time: 6 months 379 / 6-12 months 457 / 12-24 months 788 / 24-60 months 1,487 . more than 60 months 1,984

Average time taken to deport an FNO 87 days
  Immigration Enforcement Transparency Data Q3 2017  

Deportation Appeals:

Where there is a right of appeal from within the UK the time limit to appeal is 14 days. The time limits for appeals are set out in rules made by the Tribunal Procedures Committee a non- departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. There is no right of appeal against a Removal Order, but if a person claims that their removal would be contrary to the Refugee Convention or European Convention on Human Rights there may be a right of appeal.

Appeals allowed in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) over the last three years is: 2014/2015 – 26,394; 2015/2016 – 20,539 2016/2017 – 23,275. [123516]


Early Day Motion 879: Current Situation in Afrin, Syria

That this House is deeply concerned about the current situation of the people of Afrin, who have been subjected to Turkish Government aggression; notes that Afrin has been one of the more stable parts of Syria and that it has become a destination for hundreds of refugees from many cities including Aleppo; further notes that its current population has risen from 400,000 before the war to roughly 750,000; believes that the true victims of Turkey's invasion of northern Syria are refugees, babies, women and children; further notes that Afrin borders Turkey on the north and is surrounded on its other sides by Syrian government forces and rebel forces including Al Qaeda; recognises that Afrin like other parts of Rojava is run democratically and peacefully with an emphasis on religious and ethnic pluralism, restorative justice, and the liberation of women and economic cooperatives; further recognises that YPG, YPJ and SDF forces, backed by the US, have been the most successful groups in defeating Daesh in Syria; is further concerned that the Turkish government's recent actions are widely judged to have worsened the prospects for peace in Syria and wider Middle East; condemns the use of violence by Turkey's Army on the people of Afrin and the Kurdish forces in Syria; and calls on the Government, as a matter of urgency to press the importance of respect for fundamental human rights and rule of International law.

House of Commons, 30/01/2018,

Put Your MP to Work – Ask Them to Sign EDM  879  
To find your MP go here:

More Than 110,000 People Detained Across the UK, 70 Deaths A Month In Or After Release From Detention

More than 110,000 people were detained in the UK across prisons, immigration centres, secure settings for children and young adults and psychiatric hospitals, according to a snapshot of the detained population last year. The figure, for 31 March 2017, has emerged in new analysis by the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) – the prevention of torture and ill-treatment body established to strengthen the protection of people in detention through independent monitoring in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Chair of the NPM, John Wadham, said the true figure may be higher, as not all government and other official agencies provided complete and comparable data. The figure did not include those held in police custody on 31 March 2017. The figures we’ve been able to collate show staggering numbers of people are being detained across all four nations of the UK. However, because of gaps in official data, there is still a lot we don’t know about precisely how many people are held in all the different places of detention.”

The NPM’s analysis found that on 31 March 2017:

  • An estimated 87,499 adults over the age of 21 were detained in prisons in England, Wales and Scotland;
  • 5,872 people aged 20 or under were detained in youth custody in England, Wales and Scotland;
  • There were 3,389 adults held in residential immigration detention in the UK;
  • More than 15,000 individuals were detained under mental health legislation in England and Wales alone.

The numbers of people detained on 31 March 2017 do not include those in police custody (because of difficulties sourcing the data). However, the NPM found that between 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 there were at least 840,607 “detention events” in police custody across the UK.

 The NPM also found an average of 70 deaths per month, with at least 841 people dying in or following detention in prisons, secure settings for children and young adults, police custody, immigration centres and psychiatric hospitals, including those detained under the Mental Health Act.

The deaths included some of the most vulnerable people held in detention:

  • two children, both aged 17 years old, who died in Secure Children’s Homes in England and Wales;
  • eight young adults aged 18-20 years old who died in prisons or YOIs in England, Wales and Scotland;
  • six adults who died in or following immigration detention; and one apparently self-inflicted death of a person detained in prison for immigration purposes.

Mr Wadham said “Worryingly, we do know from our research that an average of 70 people per month have died in or shortly after being held in detention. “When people are detained behind closed doors the risk of ill-treatment is, unfortunately, always present and, as highlighted in recent inspection and monitoring reports from members of the NPM, they often experience very poor conditions in detention. To prevent ill-treatment and make sure detainees are safe and well-cared for it is vital we have a clear picture of the numbers and needs of people who are held in the different settings across the UK. The figures on the large numbers of people who are detained across the UK underline the scale of the task for members of the NPM in checking how people are being treated. Through regular, independent monitoring of places of detention – conducted through thousands of visits every year by the 21 independent bodies that make up the NPM – our members play a key role in preventing ill-treatment of people in detention. It is essential that, in the next year, the NPM and our members are given the necessary tools and resources to perform this vital work effectively.

Source: National Preventive Mechanism,

Prisoners: Segregation/Solitary Confinement:

Segregation is the removal from normal association under Prison Rules and in accordance with a process prescribed in policy. Her Majesty's Prison & Probation Service (HMPPS) does not hold prisoners in solitary confinement. Prisoners with a mental health condition may be segregated where this is assessed as being the most appropriate course of action. A prisoner whose mental health puts them at risk of self-harm may be segregated in exceptional circumstances only. Segregation policy sets out a range of safeguards to monitor and support the prisoner's well-being including daily visits by a member of healthcare, visits from a doctor at least every three days and from mental health in-reach teams as necessary. Additional monitoring of the prisoner is determined in accordance with an assessment of individual need and the need for continued segregation is reviewed at least every 14 days. Information about segregated prisoners is held locally and regional offices receive quarterly reports from their prisons that identify any segregated prisoners who may have been segregated contrary to Healthcare advice relating to the prisoners mental health and wellbeing; this will not necessarily include information about prisoners with a diagnosis of a mental health condition where no healthcare objection to segregation was raised.

Prisoners are segregated for the shortest time necessary to manage and address the reasons for their segregation and whilst segregated must have access to as normal a regime as possible. MoJ is aware of International evidence and learning about the potentially adverse effects on mental health that can result from solitary confinement. Whilst HMPPS does not hold prisoners in solitary confinement, this learning has been utilised in the development of safeguards in policy to protect the mental health and wellbeing of segregated prisoners. These safeguards include; completion by a doctor or registered nurse of an initial segregation health screen within two hours of a prisoner being segregated, daily visits by a member of healthcare and doctor visits at least every three days. In addition, a prisoner's segregation must be reviewed at least every 14 days by a multi-disciplinary Segregation Review Board, chaired by an operational manager and with input from Healthcare, Psychology and mental health in-reach teams as necessary.

Source: Dr Phillip Lee: Under-Secretary of State Ministry of Justice