2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID).
AVID has decided to create a resource and archive of visitors’ testimonies over the years. The initiative is aimed to explore the relationship between the visitor and the detainee, in its variety of forms and experiences.
It will also record the growth of volunteer visiting in response to the expansion of immigration detention in the UK.
If you are willing to share your personal experience with AVID, or want to know more, contact:
Due to the recent extensive legal aid cuts, the funding for non-asylum appeals has been abolished: this means that legal aid is no longer provided for family and/or private life, deportation cases, with evident risks of breaching their right to a family life.
Legal aid is still available for tribunal bail applications and judicial review, but legal aid payments are now only given if the permission for judicial review is granted: it obviously implies that many lawyers are now reluctant to proceed with cases, because of the risk of working for free.
Moreover, following this regrettable tendency, assisted voluntary return for immigration detainees, previously conducted by Refugee Action, has been cut as well, due to a Home Office decision. At the current time, as far as we can see, no plans to replace AVR have been arranged.
We are happy to share and support Detention Action’s campaign to end the practice of indefinite detention in immigration detention centres.
You can support the campaign by writing to your MP asking him/her urgently to call for the Immigration Minister to introduce a time limit on detention.
For further details and information, as well as a template letter and a campaign briefing, click here.
Please note that the visiting hours at Haslar IRC changed on 1st June 2014: on Monday and Tuesday they will be just from 14.00 to 16.00; on Wednesday from 09.30 to 20.00; on Thursday and Friday again from 14.00 to 16.00; finally, on Saturday and Sunday the visiting hours will be from 09.30 to 16.00.
We held a training day for visitors on 10 November 2012 and received very positive feedback for the event.
Some comments included the following “Good balance of overall bigger picture information and very practical advice to take into detainees. Lovely lunch! Also good to meet with other visitors – both new and old” and “Thank you Anne. Feel inspired and supported. And had a nice lunch”.
If you have any burning issues that you feel you would like more information or training on, then do send your ideas to the office.
This month we have also been contacted by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) who may be able to challenge wrongful criminal convictions of detainees.
1. If your detainee was an asylum seeker or refugee who was convicted of having no passport or a false passport or entering the UK using deception they may be able to challenge the sentence and/or conviction.
2. Also, if your detainee was a victim of human trafficking and was convicted of an offence that someone else made them commit or they felt forced to commit then the Criminal Cases Review Commission may be able to help.
Contact details for both the CCRC and the solicitor challenging detention of Iranian asylum seekers are available from us at the office.
Jimmy Mubenga (46) died after losing consciousness on British Airways flight 77 to Angola, as it waited to take off on the runway in 2010. G4S guards were restraining him at the time and the guardian reported that passengers witnessed Jimmy... complaining that he couldn't breathe. Charges against G4S have been dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Read more at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/17/jimmy-mubenga-guards-no-charges
Anne returned from the ARC detention subgroup meeting in London this month with a wealth of information that may be useful for detainees.
Since November 2011 the Iranian Embassy in London has been closed. This has meant that at this time many Iranian detainees are being held in detention indefinitely with no imminent removal available to the Home Office.
A solicitor in the London area has decided to challenge the detention of Iranian nationals and details are available from us at the office. If you are visiting an Iranian detainee it may be helpful for you to pass this information to them to see if the solicitor is able to help.