I read with a deep sense of shame, disgust and anger of the suicide three months ago of Marcin Gwozdzinski, a Polish detainee at Harmondsworth Detention Centre. The report, in The Guardian, carried this harrowing account of the event:
“He was crying, begging for help from the guards, telling them to call an ambulance, that his mental health was an emergency,” said another detainee, … “They told him he would get no help and to stop calling for an ambulance. He broke down like a baby. Still they did nothing.”
In view of this I have written a letter to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to plead that the government show compassion to those held in custody. I fear, as many do, that this is yet another example – and a tragic one – of the way our country is hardening its heart following Brexit. I understand that we are the only country in Europe with no time limit on immigration detention despite a campaign by MP’s and others to impose a 28 day limit and only then as an “absolute last resort”. These deaths leave those responsible – and, by implication, all of us in the UK – with blood on our hands, blood which, like the blood of Abel, cries out for justice.