Archive for March, 2008

Further Racist Attacks In Frankland Prison

Background

News has reached us that HMP Frankland, run by Governor Bob Mullen, is still continuing to be a dangerous, hostile and racist environment for Muslim Prisoners. What is most disturbing is that despite continuous pressure being applied, he has done little to address the concerns of the inmate population, even when their lives are in danger.

In January, one inmate who does not wish to be named was attacked twice in a 48 hour period. The first attack was unprovoked by a person who delivered apunch so violently that it slammed him onto bars, splitting his head and making him lose conciousness. He required stitches, however they simply used glue to stop a very serious wound, an action which flies in the face of standard medical procedures for such an injury. He also overhead the nurses say that it was the first time they had ever used glue to treat an injury.

Incredibly, he was released back to his cell on the same wing the next day. He was then attacked again, this time within 2 days of the first attack. In the second attack, two prisoners bit off part of his ear, leaving it virtually hanging loose by a thread. The inmate states that two officers where in the vicinity within 20 meters with a clear line of vision, and they waited until the attack had ended before intervening. He was then assaulted by the Prison Officers, being handcuffed and held to the floor whilst putting pressure on his back. They also pushed his head to one side, forcing his injured ear to the floor, causing excruciating pain. He also suffered sight loss in both eyes.

He was then taken to segregation, and despite continually asking for assistance with his ear nearly dislodged from his head, he was not even responded to for over 1 hour. After one hour, an officer responded by taken his shoes away from him. He has still not had them returned.

He was eventually seen 5 hours later from the attack by a doctor, who informed him that he would require plastic surgery. This term was not explained to the inmate, and as a result he was unsure what this actually meant. It was clear that he required major surgery, however the nurses informed him he would not be able to do this as he was a ‘high risk’ prisoner.

As a result, his ear injury was treated with paracetomol and anti-biotics. This of course did nothing to alleviate the pain. This left him unable to pray as the bleeding did not cease, and made it next to impossible for him to sleep. After 5 days of non-treatment, and suffering stress and trauma as a result, he requested to leave the hospital wing. The prison tried to make him return to the same wing on which he was based, which of course he refused. For this, he was sent to solitary confinement for refusing a direct order.

Whilst in Solitary, there have been race riots in which the ethnic minority prisoners were attacked by the white prisoners. The ethnic prisoners were then punished for being attacked by being placed in segregation and then moved to another establishment.

It is clear that there are serious issues that have failed to be addressed, and the prison may well be operating a fiefdom which it believes it does not have to obey its legal obligations.

• There is still racist grafitti left in cells and public areas which has not been removed, despite this being raised in courts over 6 months ago.

• There is no CCTV on F and G Wings, despite their being numerous attacks on minority inmates within that wing

• The Prison Officers are 90% white. This should not be an issue, however it becomes one when it is clear that preferential treatment is being given to white inmates, whilst ethnic minority inmates are being victimised

• The Legal rooms do not offer confidentiality. Any conversations are clearly audible and listened to by Prison Officers.

• Some inmates, mainly muslim inmates, are required to move cells every month.

• Inadequate and discriminatory healthcare is still being offered to muslim inmates directly injured as a result of the prisons’ failure to protect their safety. This is in spite of this issue being raised in relation to Eesa Barot before his transfer.

• There were race riots on at least one occasion, and rather than addressing the issues raised from this incident, the prison chose to cover it up and under-report it.

• Inadequate training of staff to deal with muslim prisoners. They could not, or did not want to, understand the inmates repeated requests for medical assistance. They also did not intervene when a muslim inmate was being attacked.

It is clear that HMP Frankland under Governor Bob Mullen is unable to protect the rights and safety of muslim and ethnic minority inmates within its prison. We call on the prison service to investigate the issues raised within this, and if it cannot provide for ethnic minority or muslim prisoners at HMP Frankland, then it should not be housing them there. All prisoners, regardless of their crimes real or alleged, have the right to be protected and treated equally. The restriction on freedom and the fact they are held in an establishment where their movements are restricted is the punishment of prison. There should be no further punishment because of the colour of someones skin or their religious affliation.

Actions Required

•Write Letters and Make Phonecalls to HMP Frankland, making them aware of the issues raised in this alert. A sample letter is included.

•Contact your member of parliament, asking them to investigate the above issues.

•Contact the Prison Inspectorate, Anne Owers.

Key Contacts

H M Prison Service
Parliamentary, Correspondence & Briefing Unit
Room 536
Cleland
Page Street
London
SW1P 4LN
FAX: 0207 217 6403     
Governor Bob Mullen

HMP Frankland
Brasside
Durham
DH1 5YD
Tel: 0191 332 3000
Fax: 0191 332 3001

Anne Owers, Prison Inspectorate
Ashley House
2 Monck Street
London
SW1P 2BQ
Tel 020 7035 2876 or 0845 010 7938 (lo-call)
Fax 020 7035 2860
Email: mail@ppo.gsi.gov.uk
 

Sample Letter

Dear Mr Mullen,

I write this letter with dismay, to see that despite you having been made aware on numerous occasions that your prison and prison officers are delivering discriminatory treatment to muslim prisoners, you have done little to address the continually deteriorating situation at your prison.

• There is still racist grafitti left in cells and public areas which has not been removed, despite this being raised in courts over 6 months ago.

• There is no CCTV on F and G Wings, despite their being numerous attacks on minority inmates within that wing

• Inadequate training of staff to deal with muslim prisoners. They could not, or did not want to, understand the inmates repeated requests for medical assistance. They also did not intervene when a muslim inmate was being attacked.

• There were race riots on at least one occasion, and rather than addressing the issues raised from this incident, the prison chose to cover it up and under-report it.

• The Legal rooms do not offer confidentiality. Any conversations are clearly audible and listened to by Prison Officers.
• Inadequate and discriminatory healthcare is still being offered to muslim inmates directly injured as a result of the prisons’ failure to protect their safety. This is in spite of this issue being raised in relation to Eesa Barot before his transfer.

I would advise you that if you are unable to protect the safety and wellbeing of muslim inmates at your prison, then you should not be housing them there. There have been to date, that the public know about, 5 serious assaults involving an attacks on muslim prisoners and their belongings.

I believe that unless you are able to protect muslim inmates safety and ensure that your prison officers cease their discriminatory and racist behaviour, then the ethnic minority and muslim prisoners should be rehoused immediately. I will also be raising this with my member of parliament and the inspectorate of prisons.

Regards,
 

SOURCE: Help The Prisoners and Arani Solicitors

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Poem For Our Detained Brothers

He called from his cage

He banged on the door

His fists were bleeding

His heart did it more

They bound him in chains

He never saw the rain

Where they kicked him, there he lain

Brother, brother, detained

They wouldn’t give him water

They believed he’d led some inhumane slaughter

He wasn’t allowed letters from his son or his daughter

They threatened him with bullet and mortar

They threw at him abuse

Because they wanted him to loose

And could entrap him in their ruse

He was silent and that made them confused

Prevented him from taking a shower

They feel big when they exercise their power

This is how they cower

Humans, like the wilting flower

The interrogations were simply futility

They were creative in their brutality

They stripped him of all morality

Couldn’t do that to his individuality

He was made to live on less than those in monastery

They certainly didn’t care for honesty

A ray of sun, barely momentary

Walking was thought complementary

There he lay, caged in number and formation

Dressed in orange humiliation

Forced to admit he belonged to a non-existent corporation

Please know, that it was under duress information

Tears lashed his dusty heart

The way forever on the straightest path

Sorrow mourned his weary eyes

Here he suffered, from their lies

All day, all night, in shackle

Oh dearest Muslim Ummah, Oh what a debacle… 
 

Written by Juhayfa Bint Shoaib

Interview With Mahboob Khawaja

 

Born in Ottawa on April 14th 1979, Mohammad Momin Khawaja graduated from Algonquin College in computer software development. He was an active member of his community, teaching Qur’anic recitation, Mathematics, and Islamic history to the youth at his local Mosque in Cumberland, Ontario. Following a three-month trip to Pakistan, Khawaja began working for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Summer 2002 as a software programmer. On March 29th 2004, he was detained, along with four family members, in an armed raid on their Canadian home. Since his arrest four years ago, and despite having been charged, Khawaja has not been tried or been shown the allegedly incriminating evidence held against him. Having been denied bail on two occasions, he is currently incarcerated in the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. In this exclusive interview, Cageprisoners spoke to his father, Mahboob Khawaja, about the case.

 CAGEPRISONERS: Mahboob, could you elaborate on the charges against Momin?


MAHBOOB KHAWAJA: Momin is charged in Canada with undefined role in conspiracy to participate in planning to make a bomb with other people based in UK. Originally, there were two charges which have been expanded by the prosecution into seven.
CP: What evidence has been brought in support of these charges? How would you respond to the allegations?

 MK: For the last four years, no tangible evidence has ever been brought to the public notice. However, we heard from the media, that the prosecution claims to have e-mails messages and a record of interviews with other unknown people talking about these issues. From the beginning, we believe, all the police raids and other official actions were taken to show to the public that Canadian Government has discovered a major plot and it was widely propagated throughout the world that Momin and his whole family were involved and were portrayed by the media as ‘terrorists’. It was done with the official sponsorship of the Canadian and US Governments. If the accusations and charges were true, why did the Government take four years and still have not brought the case to trial? Even the Canadian Chief Justice of Superior Court was outraged at this time-killing exercise by the Justice Dept. We were labelled as Muslim terrorists. We believe that all this was politically and religiously geared against us.  

CP: Did Momin ever have any encounters with the authorities before this incident?

MK: Momin has been a law abididng citizen of Canada with no criminal record and he was never involved in such activities.

CP: Could you talk about the circumstances of Momin’s arrest? 


 MK: He was detained on March 29, 2004, while in his office. The police raid was a replica of the US military attacks on civilian homes in Baghdad and other locations in Iraq, fully equipped with heavy loaded guns, army of 60 plus men and pointing loaded guns at the ordinary citizens. My wife and children were arrested without warrant, and my residence was raided without presenting any search warrant to my family.

CP: You have mentioned that your family suffered damage to their property as a result of the raid?

MK: Yes, our residence was attacked. The doors and windows were broken and the police men were shouting at the family members. To our neighbours witnessing it, the operation appeared like a Hollywood movie stunt carried out in the morning hours and continued for almost 24 hours. Understandably, the police action followed or perhaps simultaneously happened when Momin was arrested.

CP: And you yourself were detained and questioned, by the Saudi authorities?

  MK: Because of the time difference (9 hours or so), my wife whilst in custody, was allowed to call me in Saudi Arabia to inform that our house was under attack, and all of them were under arrest. I asked the lady police officer as to why. She claimed that they had a search warrant and that some senior official will call me later to provide the information. That never happened as at the same time, I was detained while on campus in the early hours of the morning. The Saudi Intelligence official showed the written formal request from the Canadian Government with four different accusations against me. They laughed and told me they believed all these were false accusations, but that they had to do that because of the formal request from a friendly government.


 CP: Was Momin subject to any humiliating or degrading treatment after his arrest or during his incarceration?

MK: It is obvious that after Momin’s arrest, he must have been subjected to interrogations and other unthinkable treatment as perhaps, you can analyse from the nature of the police raid at our residence in Canada. It meant that force was used as a means of harming ordinary citizens, merely based on suspicion, and not on any actual facts of law.

CP: How long was it before the media got involved in Momin’s story? What has been their response to his case?

MK: Prior to Momin’s arrest, we believe the international media had all the information and accusations available. While in Saudi Arabia, I hardly finished talking with my wife, within a few seconds, a journalist from a local Canadian newspaper called me about the incident and raid at my home. We believe it was all a pre-planned and well executed stunt to destroy us.

CP: What are the current conditions under which Momin is being held? How is his morale? 

MK: Momin remains at the same detention centre but his actual location often changes within the centre. His health and morale has suffered a great deal, and we try our best to lift his spirits in thoughts and prayers. There have been times when Momin would not talk much or would be unable to speak. We suspect that it is all due to his prolonged detention and its impact on him.
 

CP: How are you able to communicate with Momin?

MK: We are allowed to visit him twice weekly, and write to him. He is allowed to make one daily phone call.

CP: Is Momin an isolated case in Canada?

MK: There are six or seven other detainees in Canada, all of Arabian or Muslim origin held on suspicion of terrorism. Some of these cases have been heard in various courts.

CP: Could you tell us about some of your son’s most endearing qualities?

MK: Momin had excellent academic and moral discipline and had a very successful start to his professional career. Despite being under duress for a long time, he continues to pursue his academic goals and taking university courses through distance learning programs. He is honest, and very committed to human values of civic responsibility, law abiding and always eager to help others. He was an active volunteer at the local community serving the youngsters in teaching them religious studies, the Qur’an and Mathematics. He is a very family oriented person. We hope and pray to Allah that he will be free soon and resume his normal life.
 

CP: You have mentioned that your family is still subject to harassment and restrictions from the Canadian authorities. What has been the impact on your family?

MK: Our ordeal does not have any apparent wounds, burning fire or smoke coming out, but we have been mistreated by the authorities as second class citizens and destabilised in all social and economic domains of human life by the government.

CP: What has been the response of the Canadian public to the case?


MK: From another perspective, Canada is a beautiful country and people are soft-hearted, very nice and supportive of human values that we all share in common. Most of the public are with us and have extended their moral support to our cause and our call for Momin’s freedom.
 

CP: What do you think of the media reaction to the detention of you son?

MK: Most leading media outlets are aligned with the governments in North America, paid, bought and bribed; they would not tell the real story to public or the side of the accused. Most journalists would reflect on official versions of accusations. You are welcome to see the writers of the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.

CP: Do you have any comments on Cageprisoners’ work?
 

MK: Cageprisoners is a real humanitarian project: you deserve all of our sympathy and support for your goals to help those who have been forced into difficult situations and to extend hope to those who appear hopeless under the impact of official cruelty and injustice, and to offer practical help enabling all of us to build a better world and a more respectable future for all, regardless of ethnic origin and racial identity. As Muslims, we see the humanity as one, and believe in standing together in unity for human rights, peace, justice and happiness for all.

CP: Mahboob, thank you for speaking to us.

Take action for Momin Khawaja

Source: cageprisoners.com