Britain now locks up more asylum-seekers and migrants than ever before: approximately 30,000 are detained each year. On Tuesday 28 November the Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers released a report strongly criticising Britain’s largest detention centre, Harmondsworth, for its bad management and poor conditions. When guards attempted to prevent detainees at Harmondsworth from watching coverage of the report on the evening news, the prisoners protested. Doors were broken, fires were lit, and the following day around 50 detainees were seen in the courtyard spelling out the words ‘HELP’, ‘SOS’ and ‘FREEDOM’ using their bed sheets. As a result 150 detainees have been released from other detention centres to make space for prisoners at the damaged Harmondsworth. http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/11/357432.html
Two days later, on 1 December, all but three of the families imprisoned at Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre went on hunger strike in protest at the lack of medical care for their children, many of whom have been suffering for two weeks now from an outbreak of diarrhoea at the centre. There are also reports that visits have been refused. This is the centre where Hidayet Ozdemir, his pregnant wife, and their two young children are being held. Hidayet reports that medical treatment has so far been refused to his pregnant wife Hatin. Yarl’s Wood is run by private company GSL-UK Ltd, contracted to the Home Office, and is the main holding centre in England for families facing deportation. On 26 July the Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers published a report strongly criticising the detention of children, saying there was ‘no evidence that the child’s welfare was taken into consideration’. TCAR has held a series of recent protests against the detention of children, and is calling for the release of all immigration detainees.
Kurds in Turkey: Background
If forced to return to Turkey Hidayet Ozdemir and his family face persecution because they are Kurdish. Since 1990 the Turkish state has been accused of the killing of 37,000 Kurds, the destruction of 3,500 Kurdish villages, and of leaving 2 million Kurds without homes. In Turkey Hidayet Ozdemir was an active member of HADEP, the Democratic People’s Party, which calls for national self-determination for the Kurdish people. Since HADEP was shut down by the Turkish state in the 1990s there have been thousands of assassinations of party members by Turkish paramilitaries, and four of the party’s MPs have been jailed for 15 years. Other HADEP MPs remain in exile. Danny Matthews, a spokesperson for TCAR, said: ‘The British Labour government stands in full complicity with the fascist regime of Turkey, as it does with any repressive government which is seen to serve British interests. We demand that human lives be placed above profits for Britain’s ruling class. Release the Ozdemir family now.’
Please fax Turkish Airlines and ask them not to aid the Home Office in removing the Ozdemir family and Hasan without giving time for the Judicial Review which is currently being submitted for the Ozdemir family, and without allowing Hasan the chance to properly state his case with access to full medical reports and x-rays.
Turlish airline fax: 0208-759 58 14 Or 01784 421726
Phone: 0208-897 17 31 or 0208 745 64 01 or 01784 421717
Ask to speak to the duty officer and say you want to LOG your concerns for the well-being of Hasan who is being deported on flight TK 1980 Turkish Airlines, Heathrow to Ataturk airport, Istanbul tomorrow at 11.45 hours.
2) FAX and EMAIL LIAM BYRNE
Liam Byrne, Minister of State for Immigration - fax no. 020 7035 4745
email: byrnel (at) parliament.uk
3) PASS THIS MESSAGE ON!!! to your friends and colleagues. If you have time it would help if you could let us know what action you have taken.