Yarl’s Wood update: officer sacked
January 14, 2004
Written by Arun Kundnani
A security officer at Yarl’s Wood detention centre has been sacked following revelations of racist bullying, exposed by an undercover reporter in December 2003.
Following an investigation by the Daily Mirror last year, which documented racist language, a culture of violence in training sessions and staff boasting of their brutal treatment of detainees, three security officers were suspended. Now one has been dismissed and the other two have received written warnings from Global Solutions – the prisons company formerly known as Group 4 – which runs Yarl’s Wood. A Home Office inquiry into the allegations is due to report next month.
Meanwhile, what has happened to the thirteen detainees who were put on trial last year, in relation to the devastating riot and fire at Yarl’s Wood in February 2002? Henry Momadou and Behar Limani, who were convicted of violent disorder and sentenced to four years, are hoping that their convictions will be overturned at appeal. Henry was found not guilty of arson at the trial in August 2003.
Kayode Abdul, Klodgan Gaba, Lucky Jacobs, Thomas Kalu, Agron Kastrioti and George Tuka, who were all acquitted or had the charges against them dropped for lack of evidence, were released – but then immediately re-arrested by police using powers granted to them under the 1971 Immigration Act. Klodgan Gaba was quickly deported to Albania before he was able to contact friends and supporters. The others have since been released on bail.
Ahmed Aliane, who is an Algerian asylum seeker, had already spent two years in detention when he pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Before the trial began, while he was being held on remand at Wormwood Scrubs, Ahmed made several attempts to take his own life. By the time he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, he had already served this time on remand. Ahmed has remained at the prison since the trial.
Nassem Mosstaffa pleaded guilty to affray and was sentenced to three months, which had already been served on remand. After the trial, he was re-arrested under immigration imprisonment powers and later took a ‘voluntary return’ to Morocco.
The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.