Monday, March 07, 2005

It's not just Iraqis who are abused... remember Zahid Mubarek, murdered five years ago this month.

We have got used to stories of the abuse of power in Abu Ghraib and Camp Breadbasket in recent weeks. Equally as horrifying, though, was the story on BBC last week showing the disgusting racism and abuse at Oakington Immigration Centre. The accounts by undercover reporters should be sufficient for the private company, the laughably named Global Solutions Ltd, to immediately have their contract terminated. However, a more disturbing question is: would the State sector do any better? Relatives of Zahid Mubarek would almost certainly not think so. Zahid was the victim of an horrendous series of racial taunts and attacks by his cellmate in Feltham young offenders institution. His murderer, known racist psychopath Robert Stewart beat Zahid to death with a table leg five years ago. Jack Straw initally, and then David Blunkett refused the family a public inquiry into the murder (and that should have been a bigger reason for Blunkett's resignation than some leg-over nonsense) before the Courts ordered him to do so. The inquiry is now underway and you can follow events on the Public Inquiry website. Last week the head of the Prison Officers Association said that officers deliberately placed people into the sort of situations where prisoners would be bullied, and then they gambled on the likely outcomes. I await the news of the prosecution of these officers... but I won't hold my breath.