He was detained for years now

He was detained for years now and the Home Office could not remove him because they couldn’t get travel documents. And on Monday they took him to hospital and he died today.

He was from Sierra Leone, the same country as me. I met him in detention – he was here when I came here a year ago. He was a very quiet man- he kept himself to himself. He was very caring man. He was helpful to people doing application and writing letters. He used to work in the welfare office in detention.

We are told the focus of detention is removal. But I don’t see the justification for detaining someone for 1 year, for 2 year, for 3 years. And you’re telling me the purpose is to remove people? For a lot of people here, it’s like that. I’m a person in a wheel chair and I’ve got polio in my right leg. He was posing no risk to anyone. So I don’t think there’s a justification for keeping people here. In this prison. I don’t see the justification.

I think it’s politics. I think it’s politics. I can’t justify it. It’s very unfair. This is a country that promotes human rights – they are the first one’s to do so. They are the forefront of women’s rights and this kind of thing. But what would the rest of the world think about this. It’s not right. It’s not proper. You need to detain people only for a specified time given by the judiciary. But they don’t follow it! They don’t care about detainees.

I don’t know why they do it – is there financial gain? I don’t know, I don’t understand.

The tone is not good at Morton Hall. Everyone is sad. No one likes the situation.

A friend of mine died this morning in Morton Hall

Basically, a guy I knew died today in Morton Hall. We called him ‘the Doctor’. He was living in the UK for 27 years now. He got arrested for false documents and sentenced to 6 months in jail. After that, they brought him to Morton Hall where he stayed for 2 years.

The guy, I knew today, is a really, really nice person. He exercised a lot. He was very fit. So when he got sick on Monday, it was really confusing because he was a very fit guy.

He fell down and was foaming at the mouth in his cell. Some guys called the nurse around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The nurse came and then left and he got worse. They came back at 6 o’clock. And the ambulance came there about 7 o’clock. And he died this morning ( on Wednesday)

As I understand, when they were in the hospital the doctors called the home office and asked for his release papers. I thought this was really cold hearted because he has been applying for bail for a long time and only when he was on his death bed did they give him release papers.

He’s a friend of mine. I’ve known him since June when I got into this place. He was really a nice person and was always willing to help people. He would just help people through the goodness of his heart for nothing in return. He was a really nice person. You don’t often find people like that. When you find them it’s like a diamond in the rough, you know.

He’s also the type of person who you can talk to if you’re stressed out in detention. He would talk to you and say keep strong when he saw that you were depressed or stressed out. When a guy like that leaves us like this, it puts a lot of stress on the people who really connected with him on a spiritual level.

You see, if he was given bail and left here. People would have been proud and happy. But the way he left, really weighs heavy on your heart.

The media needs to know about this. This place is a stressful place. He’s been punished. We don’t have anyone to stand for us. I just want the home office to start helping people and stop being so vindictive and punishing people. There are not all bad people here and people deserve a second chance. They are breaking people’s spirits.

 

This man he jumped from the second floor trying to hang himself

Today was crazy. Really crazy you know. This man he jumped from the second floor trying to hang himself. It was inside the building in the landing. There were no officers on the scene. 

This is what happened. I went inside my room to brush my teeth and when I came out he had put the sheet around the metal bed frame and around his neck, and jumped. We pressed the alarm bell three times but nothing happened. They didn’t come for like 20 minutes half an hour. Only one officer ran the others walked like it was normal and they were smiling. They were smiling and they joked about it after. 

The bell didn’t go off. The bell should be there for anyone to press if they need it but it didn’t go off. This guy would be dead if it wasn’t for the detainees. The staff weren’t even there. When the police came they said they didn’t need to talk to us, to ask us questions but we were the only ones around there – the officers weren’t there. 

You see the guy who did that he was walking around this morning and he was acting strange. If the staff saw him they would know something was wrong but they were in their office having cups of tea. They should be walking around every morning seeing how everyone is but they are always in the office having tea. 

We have cameras in here. He had bedding wrapped round his arm from 8 o’clock in the morning. If I saw someone walking with bedding first thing in the morning I would know something was wrong. The cameras are suppose to keep us safe so the officers can respond quickly. He walked passed many cameras. But they didn’t clock anything. I see him every day I knew something was wrong but I’ve never seen anything like this before. I didn’t know he would do that. I ran out straight away and pulled the bed sheet up but then i realised i was making it worse – I was helping him die so I let it go. I didn’t know what to do. Someone else came straight away and knew what to do, he must have seen this before. He lay on the ground and held his hand to hold him up. We tried to undo the knot but it was hard to do so other people were lifting up his feet from the bottom and from the top people were trying to undo the knot. He would be dead if it wasn’t for the other detainees.

He feels like he fails something but no one should feel like that. We should be looked after by the staff and the home office but you don’t get that in here. He didn’t say anything was wrong. I never saw him speak to anyone in this place. We have to keep ourselves occupied to cope with this place, but you have to do your own thing. 

This place is really horrible. They don’t treat you like a human being, they treat you like an animal, like a foreigner. I’ve been in two other detention centres but this is the worst. The hygiene, the food everything. It is just the way the place is. You can not trust the staff. You just can’t. To them its like ‘immigrants, immigrants’. In other removal centres you have a much better relationship with the staff. If you have a problem you can speak with them but here you can’t. You can only talk to your friends but your friends have their own problems you know. The staff they do they get trained to deal with stuff in here, but they don’t do anything. You never see the staff, the sit at their desks all day having cups of teas. You ask for something and it takes a week to get done. You can’t trust people like that. 

They don’t care. If one person dies its a number, they just put a number down. When people get deported they are happy and say ‘one person down, one less person to stress about’. 

The police just stood in the place where the guy tried to commit suicide for 20 minutes. They should check the cameras, they should take the statements. They didn’t take any of our statements. They should take statements from the people that saw what happened to see what happened. But they said they didn’t need to. Then they left.

The fire alarm bell doesn’t work. The question everyone should be asking is why that wasn’t working. Everywhere you go the fire alarm should be working. If there was a fire what would you do. If the officers didn’t hear all the screaming they wouldn’t have come. Only once I have heard it working. Lets say a fire happened, or a riot. They are over the other side having cups of tea and laughing. In prison the officers walk around and check. This place is the worst place I have ever been. They feed you when you are supposed to be fed and that is it. You do your own life. You have to cope. 

They’ve taken him off to hospital. I don’t know where. We won’t hear anything about the man. Depends who is in the same unit but the staff won’t tell us. We need to get answers, we all saw it. ‘We can’t tell you, its confidential’ they say. But we need to know he is OK so we feel OK. The only way we find out is through the other detainees. ‘He is fine, he is doing good, don’t worry…’ thats all we want to know.