Monday, 23 July 2012

Palestinian detainee threatens suicide whilst staging a protest on detention centre roof

Morton Hall detention centre, which is surreounded by 5m high razor wired fence

A Palestinian detainee has allegedly been on the roof of the Library building at Morton Hall Immigration Removal centre in Lincolnshire since 5pm this evening.

An Iraqi Kurdish detainee who came to the UK after living as a refugee in Germany during the first Gulf War, said that the Palestinian was around 25 years old and that he climbed onto the roof in protest at being detained for eighteen months.

The Iraqi Kurd said that the Palestinian had recently been unsuccessful in a bail application and that he had been on hunger strike for a couple of days. He said that two or three detainees tried to help each other climb up to the roof, but that the Palestinian was the only one who managed to climb onto the roof.

He described how there were a lot of detainees standing outside watching and shouting and that some of them refused to go back to their rooms. “The detention centre was out of control for a while, but eventually people started going back to their rooms.”

“People are generally angry with the UK Border Agency (UKBA), they are fed up with the removal policy.” The Iraqi Kurd said that the detention guards asked the Palestinian to come down from the roof but he threatened to jump off every time they came near.

“He wants to kill himself now, if anybody comes near he wants to jump. He’s standing on the roof and he wants to jump soon, if anyone comes near him” The Iraqi Kurd, who has been in Morton Hall for two months, said he helped to translate for the Palestinian a couple of times.

He expressed shock at the things he had seen since being at Morton Hall Immigration centre:

England is a country that says it believes in human rights, but not in this detention centre. They need help somehow, all the cases I have seen, some really sad stories, people who are here for no reason, they haven’t committed any crimes, they are in detention for nothing.

He believes that this is the beginning of a revolt in the detention centre, “There will be more, I can see how people are reacting to the situation, there is tension amongst the groups who have been here for a long time.”

Having lived in the UK for twelve years, The Iraqi Kurd claims that after he was given temporary leave to remain, the UKBA delayed granting him indefinite leave to remain for five years and then detained him.

“They are trying to deport me to Iraq, even though I spent my childhood growing up as a European.” The Iraqi Kurd fled Iraq with his family during the first Gulf War, when the Kurdish population suffered an 'ethnic cleansing' campaign by Saddam Hussein's regime. He arrived in Germany with his family when he was ten years old. He is now waiting for a response from the European Court of Human Rights, and hopes to be able to return to Germany.

The Iraqi Kurd believes that the Palestinian is not the only detainee who will revolt. He said there are ten or fifteen detainees currently on hunger strike and that one has tried to kill himself through self harm. “Something is going to happen soon, because there is no help from outside at all and if we ask for help the guards say it is not their problem.”

The Palestinian will stay there all night and he will eventually jump and there are others like him, there are over one hundred of them who want to do something like this

The identities of the detainees have been withheld for their protection.

Photograph by 

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear! I feel so sorry for this particular young man and for all the others like him.