The inquiry, beginning today, will seek to establish whether the suspected brain damage suffered by Sophie Odogo was caused by mistreatment while she was held at Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire and by aborted attempts to return her to Uganda. Ms Odogo, 35, claims she fled the African country after being imprisoned, raped and tortured by soldiers from the Ugandan army before she escaped, flying to the UK on 2 May last year. She is now an inpatient at the psychiatric wing of the Maudsley Hospital in south-east London.
In a letter to Conservative MP Alistair Burt, dated 8 February and seen by The Independent, Mr McNulty said that Ms Odogo's case "has highlighted the need for an independent body to routinely undertake investigations into complaints about the provision of healthcare in immigration removal centres".
Mr McNulty confirmed that Ms Owers will investigate "healthcare provision at Yarl's Wood with specific reference to mental and traumatic stress disorders and to the treatment of Sophie Odogo".
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By Tom Burgis and Oliver Duff