They way they are treating us is very bad, we have mental health problems we don’t get our medication, they don’t want people outside to know. It is against human rights. We don’t have windows to breath air. It is just like prison, even more terrible than prison. They close the door and we can’t go out.
I was detained 9th august last year and taken to the detention centre in Dorset. I claimed asylum in Dorset on 15th august. Before claiming asylum, they said an immigration officer would come within 48hours. But within 120hours still no officer came. When I was seen by an immigration officer, I complained that I had waited but nothing happened about the complaint.
I wrote 6 temporary admission letters, after claiming asylum, they were all ignored.
Early September I was transferred to Harmondsworth. When I came to Harmondsworth I came to welfare surgery to complain about the 120hour delay before being seen by an immigration officer and hearing nothing back about temporary admission and still nothing was done.
When I got to Harmondsworth I was treated like a prisoner, they locked me in the room after 8pm everyone is locked in. My liberty has not been respected. My human rights have not been respected. I spent 3 days in induction, before an officer transferred me to the ‘vulnerable adult’ section. I the ‘vulnerable adult’ section they don’t lock the door and you have just one room mate.
I ask the guards can you help me to call caseworker or immigration they do not support me, they don’t really care. When you go to complain they just ignore you. The healthcare department is totally s**t. The food is tasteless, rice and chicken, potato every week, the chips are cold, the food is totally outrageous, totally s**t, tastless, doesn’t taste of anything. When I book an appointment to get clothes for the gym, they said they couldn’t help, they said I had to wear my jeans! Do they want me to be naked?!
That was some months ago.
I went to the asylum appointment. They put me on fast track- I’m not meant to be on fast track. It is meant to be finished but they are still doing it in secret! They decided my case in 1 week. On 11th September I went for the induction and on the 12th I went for the screening, 2 weeks after I went for the big interview. They said the decision would be made in one week. How can 1 week be enough time to get evidence? I need to get evidence from Nigeria, speak to my friends, to the doctors. Its not enough time.
I went to the healthcare on mid December. I went for my Rule 35 report. The doctor gave me the Rule 35 report saying I am an ‘adult at risk’ and not meant to be detained. I have scars from torture. The doctor said they are satisfied I am victim of torture. I sent the report to immigration, 3 days later immigration called me, they have assessed the rule 35 report. They agree I am a victim of torture but they still want to detain me. I quoted their policy to them but they said they “don’t know”. Now I have been detained for 4 months.
I went for bail, with my 2 sureties. The judge mentioned about my case- this is not meant to be in the bail hearing, it is meant to be just am I a risk to the public, do I have a certain address and sureties. The judge said “I’m refusing bail because you didn’t claim asylum on time”. The judge is not meant to mention about this. He refused the bail. I applied again for Temporary Admission in mid December, they ignored it.
At the moment, I have got my new evidence from Nigeria and am making a fresh claim. I have a letter from medical justice supporting my fresh claim but I am waiting for the doctor. But I have a ticket for the charter Flight on Tuesday I don’t know if they are going to cancel my ticket? They need to defer the ticket, they need to cancel it, but I don’t know what the home office is doing?? I want to make sure I am not going on that plane. These charter flights are modern slavery.
They are not helping at all. They are not following the rules. They are treating people like they are animals. No human rights. They didn’t respect anything. They are not helping anybody.
They deny everything to the detainees here. There was one officer from Colnbrook who now became the manager of all the officers – he moved next door to Hammondsworth. There isn’t any money and there isn’t enough officers so he makes them move between Harmondsworth and Colnbrook. They are supposed to stay in one wing but they jump between – wing to wing and between centres. Half day here, half day there. The officers he have no idea what he doing or know the detainees properly. Because the officer is stress he taking it out on the detainees.
Last month three Albanians escaped from here. There aren’t enough officers. They have no control over nothing. Since then they made the fences higher, and they put more cameras.
I say to them ‘I need some help’, when they lock me behind the door but they say they have to lock the door because they don’t have enough officers. They ask me to help them and stop but i have panic attacks and seizures and they lock the door on me because they don’t have enough officers. I say they need to help me not me help them.
I have pneumonia before in 2011. I have been saying please fix the air conditioning. I have seen about six people working on the air condition but in some room its like freezer. I put toothpaste around the machine in my room to stop the air coming out because 3-5 in the morning it is like a freezer in here. In the day time its not working I can’t breath I use the fan. I have two inhalers since the pneumonia I got here before. I didn’t have asthma before I came here, no one in my family had has it.
I cost too much money since being in health care. Because I cost them more money every three – four day they ask me when I am going, whats happening with my immigration – they want me to get out because i am costing them huge money. They want to know when I will leave or be deported. Just go out from the centre.
Before, about 2009 – 11 above the visit room there were about 24 detainees. They are the ‘good behaved’ detainees and we had our doors open 24 hours. They change it now for women not for men. We used to have the doors open. Because there are not enough officers they lock the door. In the hospital we don’t have the doors locked – we are ill why they lock the door? When I go to hospital they put the hand cuffs on me. I’m disabled and on crutches. Am I a danger to the public or something – how am i going to run away on crutches?!
What happened exactly, somebody told me they find [body] in the cell, ok, and I’ve been upstairs and in healthcare up to the door. An officer, I told him, can I tell you what happened? He said, no, I can’t tell you what happened exactly. And I want to find out, get some news. And my phone, I put BBC News.
Yes, a person inside the room died and three officers they didn’t let me go inside to see what happened, I wanted some information. They pushed me, took me out. They pushed me out… they took me to the block. Why he took me to the block? I am not violence I have not pushed anyone. I told him he hiding something, I gonna call BBC, I know you hiding for us, you want secret here coz everyone knows there lot of problem here. Lot of people in the block, some cut his head, some smash his face, too many problem here in the block. Some people have ticket, some people been here 3 years. It’s the worst centre here, Colnbrook.
They didn’t want to tell me what happened exactly and they took me to the block for nothing, I just wanted some information on what happened exactly. The block, they put me there for 2 days.
They put me in a different wing, they took me out from a very nice place, they put me in a shit place now. They put me in a shit place now, a dirty place. They don’t let me back, they don’t want me to get more information from inside the wing.
Why? Why? Why you put me different wing? For nothing, nothing. All night, block, all nothing, never eat last night, I’ve got mental health problem, I’ve got medication. I’ve been healthcare over 6 weeks.
I’m not very well, I’m shocked about what happened. I’m shocked, you know, I’m scared, someone died. You’ve got people worse here, people suicide here. I’ve been to the block, I’ve seen worse people, some people cutting their head, their body. It is murder here. I’m scared you know. I’m scared.
The officer he not happy when I talk to you.
When i come to this country I was married to an English man. He had HIV. After one year of marriage it didn’t work because he wanted to fuck me in my bum. I said no its against my religion. And he called immigration and cancelled my passport and my visa. And after three months I go to hospital and they tell me I have HIV. I used to see my husband taking medication but I cannot read English. I can speak English well but I can’t read it. He didn’t tell me he had HIV. So now I am on medication i realised it is the medication my husband used to take. Immigration now are trying to deport me and I am on medication and I have to take it all my life, my family will not accept it and buy my medication because they do not accept my marriage. I got married without my family’s consent so the will not help me. When I was was married I was 15 at the time and he was 53. Since then I lived in the street, I am stressed, I cannot walk in the street. I cannot trust no one. I don’t know what happened to me. That cause me stressed, and I get more violent when I am stressed and I was in prison for a violent crime. I feel like no-one is there to help me. Immigration won’t help me. They say when my husband abused me why didn’t I report it? I said I didn’t speak English and i didn’t know the law.
A lot has happened here. I’ve been here seven months. The health care is rubbish, it is very poor. I’m sick but they can’t take care of me here. The food is rubbish. Last week there was a cockroach inside the food, the vegetarian food. A cockroach. They are keeping all the people here. 70 years. Pregnant people, old people, sick people. They don’t take people to the hospital. There is a lady who get pregnant in here cos she was with her husband. They moved her husband because she got pregnant and kept her here. She is five months pregnant. She is not even getting proper food to eat. Yesterday someone took her food. It was just dry rice and she didn’t eat, she went to bed hungry. All this is going on here its not right. Something has to be done. If you book an appointment to see a doctor is takes two weeks to see a doctor. They don’t respect us at all. It ages before they give you your parcel. It takes long. I am depressed. I am on anti depressants. I do have therapy. The seized my extensions to plait my hair. Three months now they have never given me my extension.
I came to the UK in 1996. When I was 2 years old my parents died in a car accident in Bangledesh. When they died, my mum’s brother looked after me. He was quite poor and he sold me to someone who wanted to adopt me. They took me when I was 5 years old and I was with them until I was 15 years of age. But they weren’t a good family, they were beating me, they were treating me like slave. I have a lot of marks on my body. I came with them to the UK. They made me work in a Bangledeshi take away. I was like a slave. After that some people found me working there when I was young. I told them my story and one of them looked after me. He told me not to go back to them. He said you shouldn’t work at my age. He said I could stay at his house. I stayed with them for a while. When I was 18 I worked in a Next clothes shop and Netto supermarket. In 2009, Immigration found me in the work place. They took my wallet, my bank account, my driving licence, national insurance number and they took me to the police station. It was very hard for me in the cell for one night and one day. They released me and told me to go back to see them but I didn’t go back because it was scary. I was fasting at that time, I was weak and I asked them not to keep me in the cell but they kept me.
They found me in 2013 and took me and put me in Morton Hall for 13 days. They released me and said I needed to report. Since then, for two years, I was reporting. One by one, step by step I went through my applications and different kinds of case. I put a fresh claim. Most solicitors talk nice but they work not nice for immigrants. They know my weak point because I’m not allowed to work. I changed my solicitor 10 times while in the UK. With the solicitor you write my life story but they get it wrong. I ask to see it before court but they don’t show it to me. When I go to court it sounds like I’m lying because they got it wrong.
I was signing for two years. One day, the reporting officer told me that we need to recognise me from Bangledesh and needed to speak to London high commissioner. They said we can’t recognise you because we need to see you face to face. So I needed to go to the high commissioner, I said that’s fine. When I went, it took 1 hour, and they said they can’t recognise me. They said maybe I was from Burma or from India and you came very early to the UK so we can’t recognise you. Lots of people speak Bengalie. I speak about 7 different kinds of language. They said they can’t take me sorry. I said that’s fine I don’t want to go.
I talked with them twice. They failed both times. In 2014 immigration refused everything including my fresh claim. I put in a JR and they gave me 90 days. After aeround 30 days they arrest me and they take my picture. They say that everything has finished but I say not everything is finished because I have 90 days for the JR. I say this is unlawful but they arrest me by force.
They take me to Pinine House and then Dungavel. They gave me a ticket. I had to write saying that they have failed to recognise me and they cancelled the ticket. After 4 months they said I needed to go to the commission again in London. I’ve done this twice already. I say why are you sending me again? But they have power, they can do anything. I was moved to Pennine House and then to Harmondsworth.
The High Commissioner asked me my Name and where I was born. That was it. He was very arrogant to me and to the detention officers too. He didn’t say anything to me. I went to the Gatwick detention centre with a very small room with two people on a bunk bed, with a toilet in the room, an open toilet. How can I go toilet in that – no door, no curtain nothing. I wrote to them that this is prison proper. I want to go to Dungavel. I know this is detention too, its prison, but something is better than nothing.
They sent me back to Dungavel. Altogether it was 5 months. On Saturday they forced me to go, to London. They said they have a ticket. I said no, I’ve got nothing in Bangledesh. How did you know that my asylum is wrong? For my last application they didn’t accept it, they didn’t didn’t interview. I provided with them with all the documents, but they didn’t accept anything. Maybe you have got it wrong, I said. I am now in Pennine House. Tomorrow they will take me to Harmondsworth. And Friday is my flying day. They said to me they will take me by force.
As well I’m not well. My throat is very painful. And I had a fish from Dungavel and now my throat has been bleeding a little bit some time. And I feel in pain. I’m also very depressed, I’ve been here 5 months. I’ve been given sleeping and depression tablet. They gave me these two for every day. The doctor knows everything and booked me an appointment in hospital. But I haven’t been because of this removal. This is my story and Friday is my flying day.
(EDITOR: Detained Voices has received a long report entitled “UK HOME OFFICE HUMANITY CRIMES AGAINST AFRICANS & ASIANS” written by people held inside The Verne IRC. It will be published in sections, currently with some specific details redacted. Where text is removed, it is replaced by [ ]. Names of people detained have been anonymised.)
32) CHRONOLOGICAL STATEMENT OF MR TK DEATH AT IRC THE VERNE ON 06/08/2015 IS AS FOLLOWS:
i. IRC the Verne – Death of Mr TK, a Ugandan national, 30 years of age. On 05/08/2015 at 16:30, he was refused his medication by the healthcare staff who told him he was late. He was upset as the medication helps him deal with indefinite detention. The following day 06/08/2015 at 08:00, staff found him dead with [ ]. Mr K was suffering from severe depression, panic attacks, mental health issues and was dependant on medication. He went to the medical hatch twice a day to collect his meds, at 8:30 and 16:00 without fail.
ii. Mr K’s depression got worse after staff at The Verne started controlling how much of his own money he was allowed to spend. He hated that treatment and would complain to anyone who knew him. The staff only allowed him to spend £25 a week of his own money and that was too much controlling of an individual. The claimed that he was a target to drug dealers.
iii. Doctors have written to the Home Office about his health and recommended release as he was a vulnerable detainee. The Home Office Caseworker wrote to Mr K stating that he was ‘pretending’, ‘faking it’. He must be faking it and/or pretending his death! Home Office Caseworkers are not human beings, they treat detainees like the worst scum on earth (excuse my French).
iv. Mr K was an asylum seeker from Uganda. His mother lives in London. His asylum claim was refused and was told that he can only appeal from outside the UK. How can someone who is fleeing persecution appeal asylum refusal from the country they are fleeing persecution from. We cannot appeal when we are dead, or can we do that in the UK? Die first then appeal Home Office asylum refusal as requested for every asylum seeker who have been refused asylum? To make matters worse for Mr K, the Home Office threatened him with deportation.
v. On the [ ]/08/2015, we wrote a memo to the Home Office and faxed it to: The Home Office (Case Management), Fax: [ ] reads as follows:
Re: The Death of Mr TK on 06/08/2015 at IRC The Verne, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1EQ.
We write this statement as a collective. We are the occupants of [ ]. We are very saddened of what happened to one of our fellow detainee and friend. This is a very traumatic experience for any detainee, we need urgent help, be it medical attention and counselling. So far the Verne IRC has not done anything to help or talk to any of us. We are traumatised, disturbed and shocked of what happened. He was a nice person and always smiling with us. His death has affected us in a way that we cannot explain or write here. We really want to talk to someone to help get us over it please? Would you kindly please refer us to counselling and consider our release on compassionate grounds? (Signed document not included for anonymity reasons)
vi. It is sad that no official came to see anyone of us who shared the same landing with Mr K. No official came to visit and check how badly affected, shocked and traumatised the occupants on Mr K’s landing (Room [ ]) coped with his death. Nobody cares if a refugee, asylum seeker or illegal immigration dies in UK detentions.
vii. It was only after the Home Office have received our faxed memo that we received letters from The Verne Acting Manager Mr David Bourne on the 12th August 2015 as a response to the memo we singed and sent to the Home Office (see above vi). Mr Bourne mentioned that he was responding to the memo dated 6th August and addressed to the Home Office Case Management, following Detainee Information Notice Number 033/2015. The home Office did not respond to our signed Memo. They really don’t care about us. (We will be pleased to fax you the letter from Mr David Bourne, if requested).
viii. Mr PF, a Jamaican national spoke to senior Verne Officers on the day Mr K was found dead. Mr PF wanted to see the detective so he can tell them what happened at the Verne Healthcare the day before Mr K’s death. The senior officers told Mr PF they will contact the detective. Mr PF explained to the officers that he was present at Healthcare on the 5th August 2015 (around 16:30) when nurses refuse to give Mr K his medication telling him that he was late. Mr K responded that he was asleep and apologise for being late but the nurses were not having none of it. Mr K was denied his important medication and the following day he was found dead.
ix. A witness like Mr PF should have been given a chance to talk to the detective in order to help them with their enquiries. Surprisingly, two days later Mr PF was transferred to Brookhouse. Mr PF had serious medical attention and was suffering from hernia. The doctor at the Verne stated that he was unfit to travel and that he needed an urgent medical attention; ‘in simple terms Mr PF needed very important surgery and was not fit to travel long distance, let alone fly UK to Jamaica’. We have not heard from Mr PF after he was transferred to Brookhouse. We think he has been deported to Jamaica in an effort to cover-up The Verne murder of Mr K. Mr PF is a very important witness to the enquiry of Mr K and should be brought back for police questioning.
On Friday morning 3am someone died in the Verne. For some reason he killed himself. We are on the next landing to those guys. When the two officers did a room check in the morning found him. He was bleeding from his head. No one’s saying why he died or how he died. They are saying something about drugs. He was on medication, and was asking them for help. He went to the NHS and they said he was late by 5 minutes. And for some reason he didn’t get his tablet. The NHS is really bad in here. I’ve had complaints about my medication and I’ve made complaints and I’ve never heard anything from them. He was upset that night. And he was in his room and he decided to do that.
The next day someone else cut himself very seriously. The NHS came after a long time. He was bleeding for a long time. The officers knew he was going to do that because he told them. They check him every hour but he did it after they checked and was there for a long time.
When the guy died an officer came in laughing, and joking as if nothing happened. They just think a joke happened. They were laughing loud. I told them how serious it was. I asked why they were laughing so loud in the corridor. I got no answer. Only two officers was shocked by what happened, they’re the only one’s that understand things here. The main officers don’t care what happened. When the body and the ambulance was gone, that’s it. It’s like nothing’s happened here.
Another friend has been here 13 months. That’s a long time. He is really upset. I’ve been here 7 months. I’ve done no crime or nothing. I told them I’m going to kill myself as well. I haven’t been eating for 4 days, since the guy died. They know I’m not eating and they’re not doing anything. They don’t care at all. We can’t take this any more.
I’ve complied with everything. I given it all to them. I gave them everything I remember about my address in India and they say I’m going to get a two year prison sentence for not saying. Well I was 14 when I left India. I’ve been here half my life, so I am not going to remember everything. I told them everything I know. If you can’t send me back at least let me go, let me think about my future. I’m thinking I’m going to be here 13 months and there’s no way I can be here that long.
I produced a letter for Luna House that I got depression- and they referred me to counselling, and then they didn’t give it back to me- it’s there in the Home Office. I have been detained now I am on fast-track. I have a partner-she is pregnant. I was suffering from stress and everything and I can not properly sleep. You know, lot’s of problems are here. I tried to find the GP nine times, ten times, and they gave me the doctor- again yesterday I had the nurse. And I said I am sweating at night-time, and the way she talked to me was very rude. She told me I am making stories- she said I am going to put you in lock up, and you cannot go outside. I am depressed and I have a lot of problems going around my head. And she told me everyting- I will lock up you…and I have problems- I cannot work in Sri Lanka. I came to here as children. I had a relationship with a member of parliament, because of that issue I can’t return. They didn’t treat me properly.
I want to get my NHS number- it is inside my luggage; they took everything when I came here. When I came here I tried to get all my important documents and it’s been two weekends. And they haven’t give me. I come in the evening and they said come in the morning; I come in the morning and they said come in the evening. They treat us like foreign dogs- they are not caring about us. How can we spend the proper time for our applications? My English is not very good. Yesterday- the way she told me I was very upset. I was hunger-striking, I was protesting. I got TB in 2012- I had medication from 1 year and I have side-effects. I have diabetes and now I have depression. I hate this building. Two times they refused me- they want me to bring a GP letter, and I take a GP letter, and I say I have depression and they put me here. My partner is upset because I am here. She is pregnant and nobody is supporting for her. She is coming tomorrow. I am very scared- you can’t believe that your baby, or something like that…I can’t understand…I get very upset I feel very upset mentally. Couselling. The word counselling…when I was coming here, I was not like this. I am like a crazy person. I can’t even think, everything, because of this illness.
If you put people here; people will get mad. My partner is outside in my house- and my baby is going to come in August. She is having abdominal pains, and she can’t do anything- she can’t give a bath to our babies, and the shower stopped working. My lawyer is also…today he didn’t call me. Not I am trying to get my NHS number. All this- everything is mad here. I was not like this before, I used to work as a support worker with people with learning difficulties in July. Now I can’t concentrate- now language, everything I am forgetting because of this. I am getting angry with the people very, very, very soon. I have got depression in here- I don’t know what is the law. I don’t know if I talk about these it is going to do anything.
Yesterday in the morning I went to wash my big sheet because I had been sweating. They said no washing powder in the morning. I have nail problems because I am biting my nails because of the stress. I tried to open my locker and I damaged my hands. I told the doctor I could not sleep and he just gave me a plaster. Another time I went to get a plaster and they made me wait for one hour. The officer came and said, come another ten or fifteen minutes later. I didn’t go back there again. Today I asked them to come and open my locker- they still didn’t come. And I had to find a steel fork to open my locker, and I took my stuff outside. I am getting angry with my partner very quickly.
I am losing my mind.