Friday, April 30, 2004

Bury the rag deep in your face, now is the time for your tears

"The atrocities in Iraqi prisoners are to be the subject of an official inquiry" and so they should be. But spare a thought for the relatives of Zahid Mubarek from Walthamstow. In March 2000, Zahid, who was a 19-year old first time offender, was beaten to death with a chair leg by his cell mate Robert Stewart, a known racist and psychopath, on the day before Zahid was due to be released. Stewart signed over 200 letters from prison with a swastika, had a Ku Klux Klan sign in his cell and had written to say he would kill Zahid.

It is difficult to comprehend the level of terror Zahid must have felt in the weeks running up to his death, and the failures by the prison service are all too obvious. But not, apparently, to the Home Secretary who refused the family's request for a Public Inquiry. Four years later, after the Home Office fought the family tooth and nail all the way to the Law Lords, the Home Office this week finally conceded that they would hold a Public Inquiry.
"Zahid Mubarek died because of a combination of Robert Stewart's racism and failures of the Prison Service - had Zahid been white, he would not have died" - Commission For Racial Equality

This is a disgrace every bit as disturbing as Guantanamo and Iraq.