23 May 2012
Leigh Day & Co have been working closely with Medical Justice to assist five torture survivors who have been detained under immigration powers (and in one case, continues to be detained) despite Government policy that detention is appropriate for victims of torture only in very exceptional circumstances.
Judicial review proceedings were launched today on behalf of all five of the victims.
Sadly Leigh Day & Co’s clients are not unusual cases and the arbitrary detention of torture survivors in breach of government policy is wide spread. The legal cases will challenge the decisions to detain Leigh Day’s clients and the systemic failings of the Rule 35 procedure that is intended to protect them.
Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 requires medical practitioners in immigration removal centres (IRCs) to report on the case of any individual who he/she is concerned may have been a victim of torture. In turn, the UKBA caseowner reviews the appropriateness of detention. Policy guidance and legislation make clear that individuals who have independent evidence of torture should be released, absent very exceptional circumstances.
A detailed research report The Second Torture: the immigration detention of torture survivors has been published by the charity Medical Justice at a launch at the House of Commons.
The Report uncovers systemic failures in the safeguards purportedly in place to ensure that torture survivors are rarely, if ever, detained in immigration detention centres.
As Medical Justice’s report highlights, failures in the procedural safeguard are compounded by an apparent lack of will on the part of the Government to deal with this widespread problem with catastrophic consequences for victims of torture.
Leigh Day & Co welcomes the publication of The Second Torture and hopes that Medical Justice’s work on this issue over many years will lead to fundamental change to a failing system.
The report’s author, Natasha Tsangarides stated: “UKBA and their contractors must be brought to account. That they can treat some of the most vulnerable individuals in this way and behind closed doors is a disgrace. All we ask for is that the government implements its own policy.”
Jamie Beagent, the solicitor acting for the five torture survivors, said: “I hope that by bringing these legal proceedings we able to achieve recompense for these vulnerable individuals. It is wrong that the Government can so arbitrarily and routinely breach its own stated policies and shameful that victims of torture are put through the horrendous experience of immigration detention.”
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