‘UK Detention Center Is a Prison’: Hunger Striker’s Relative
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - People familiar with the conditions at immigration removal centers in the UK have described them as “proper prisons” with abominable conditions such as lack of medical care, physical abuse and illegal indefinite detentions.
Amid mounting criticism of the handling of refugees by British authorities, a social media campaign under the hashtag #DetainedVoices has been launched in support of detainees kept in the detention centers.
RT’s Laura Smith spoke with detainee Ahmat Obid over the phone, who said he initiated the hunger strike because authorities were “making fun” of indefinitely detained people who wanted their cases to be reviewed.
“I came to discuss with them the matter of hunger. And they asked, ‘What do you want?’ I said we want to leave, we want to have freedom. And she was just smiling, she was just laughing, she told me it was not possible,” Obid said.
RT spoke with the brother-in-law of Obid, Ghulam Nabi, to learn more about the detainee’s story and the conditions in which he is being kept.
According to Nabi, his relative is an Afghan policeman who left his home village after receiving threatening letters from the Taliban. But he was refused asylum in the UK.
“It is not a detention center – it is a proper prison,” Nabi told RT. “They refused his [Obid’s] case and he is [detained] there basically for the last two months.”
He described the hunger strike as having little impact on Obid’s case. “The hunger strike has not worked, they haven’t done anything,” he said.
Nabi has alleged that some of the hunger strikers are being beaten up, and cases of deaths in detention are simply being ignored.
“Last night a guy died in the detention center – a Bangladeshi guy. And nobody cared about him, nobody talks about him,” Nabi said.
Nabi said that UK authorities are leaving his brother-in-law no choice but to fall into the arms of the Taliban. “[The officials] will probably send him home. And [Obid] told me: ‘What I will do, I will join the Taliban because I don’t have any other choice. The Afghanistan army will not accept me, or if they accept me, the Taliban will kill me.'”
Britain’s Home Office estimates that some 30,000 migrants and asylum seekers are detained indefinitely in the country while their immigration status is resolved. Many are held for months or even years.