Skip to content or view screen version

Innocent prisoners prefer to die

Campaign to close campsfield | 17.06.2006 09:17 | Migration | Repression | Oxford

Protests Have Continued at Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) north of Oxford with a yard-occupation last night by 25 inmates lasting until 5 am this morning, constantly-changing numbers refusing food at mealtimes, and sporadic violence.

Last night, a candlelit demonstration of support was called at short notice. 25 Oxford University activists and members of the Campaign to Close Campsfield met an awesome response from the accommodation block with loud, enthusiastic chanting and drumming in response to our songs and chants. Candles were left burning along the perimeter fence.

Today, the hunger-strike and food-refusals continue. Bizarrely, we hear that guards are trying to bribe detainees back to the dinner-table with £10 vouchers (up from £5 yesterday) and £30 for anyone who will help them identify the food-refusers (presumably, the guards can't tell one black face from another).

One detainee told the Oxford Mail: "At the moment they think we will crack, but they will not break me. If they try and move me from here to another centre I am not going to go. I am going to fight them for as long as I can. If I have to commit a crime to get attention I will. "I know definitely there are about 10 others who are prepared to go all the way. I have got to take this to the end, I would rather die here than get tortured to death back in my own country."

GEO LTD - Turning a human-rights crisis into a catastrophe

The unrest follows hard on the heels of Campsfield's takeover, on May 29th, by GEO ("Global Expertise in Outsourcing" - the private US prison company previously known as Wackenhut). Inmates have told supporters that the protests are not specifically against GEO, but GEO's cheap, tough approach seems to have proved the final straw for innocent men, driven desperate by protracted, systematic abuse by the government.

A legal adviser who has clients in the centre told us today "you wouldn't believe a place could change so much in just a couple of weeks".

Education provision has been cut, with guards reportedly attempting to take classes in art and English. Provision of newspapers has been drastically cut. There are now no foreign-language newspapers at all, and just two copies each of The Sun and the Daily Mail - Britain's leading anti-asylum tabloids. The Movie Channel has been switched off. The centre's gym, which used to be open till 11pm, now closes at 4.30. And the food, incredibly, has got worse: it is now chicken every day.

Staff, most of whom were employed by GSL before May 29th, now have to work longer hours for less pay, working 5 consecutive days instead of 4.

The tension has exploded into violence and self-harm: an attempted suicide and roof-protest on Monday (a Somali man, identity and present whereabouts still unknown); yesterday a violent incident between an elderly inmate and a group of ex-prisoners: all inappropriately detained and cooped up together in these explosive conditions.

There will be further demonstrations of support this weekend. Watch this space

Campaign to close campsfield


Hide the following 2 comments


19.06.2006 13:20

Any update on the situation in Campsfield?


Matt S

Campsfield a place for attempted suicide

10.07.2006 15:13

The times for detainees accepting calls from friends has been cut by 1 hour, no calls are accepted after 9pm whereas Tinsley and Colnsbrook they can accept calls until 10pm.
Attempted suicide on 02/07/06 - An Afghan wanting to return just been detained for 4 months and told to wait.
Attempted suicide @ airport by Afghan detainee- tried to hang himself was caught and returned to Campsfield.
Small protest w/c 03/07/06 Afgahn was taken to the induction block away from the others awaiting deportation the following day. A small group refused to go to their rooms at midnight until the Afghan was returned to the block. Eventually immigration was called and the flight was cancelled and he was returned to the block.
Keep it up boys!!!

mail e-mail: