325

Kevan Thakrar transfers to HMP Manchester as screws continue their vendetta (UK)

From a comrade of the Anarchist Black Cross Brighton:

There’s a call out now for people to start writing letters of complaint about Kevan Thakrar. Here’s a couple of messages I got from his Mum yesterday:

Kev has been fighting against everything wrong in prisons and the way prisoners are treated. He is being tortured in an attempt to shut him up. The POA [Prison Officers Association] have a vendetta against him after being found not guilty of assaulting prison officers at HMP Frankland. Please show your support by writing, calling, emailing your complaints to HMP Manchester, Tel: 0161 817 5600. FAX: 0161 817 5601. Acting Governor Hannah Lane
chris.grayling.mp@parliament.uk graylingc@parliament.uk

and

Kevan is being tortured at HMP Manchester. He has been starved for 3 days and only allowed out of his cell after the phones have been shut off. He is being subjected to strip searches 3 or 4 times a day usually from the same officer. He has been given 3 IEP’s in the past week and has been put on closed visits which means he is only entitled to 30 minute visits. The director of high security prisons Richard Vince visited him and told him that the move to Manchester is a permanent one so he had better stop making complaints. You can write a letter of complaint to him at Prison Service Headquarters, Cleland House, Page Street, London SW1P 4LN. cc copies to claire.hodson@hmps.gsi.gov.uk and The Governor, HMP Manchester, 1 Southall Street, Manchester M60 9AH.

Plus here’s a copy of the letter I sent to a few places recently with more details that people could include in a letter of complaint. The 2 MPs I sent copies to are the MP for Kev’s home address before going to prison & the MP for the area HMP Manchester is in:

Dear Ms Hannah Lane, Acting Governor,

I am writing to you to express my utmost concern over the treatment of Mr Kevan Thakrar, prison number A4907AE, who was transferred to HMP Manchester on the 13th June 2013.

In a recent telephone conversation with Mr Thakrar, I asked if everything was all right since his transfer, and whether he felt safe. He replied negatively to both questions. However he did not have long to talk to me on the phone as he needed to make another call, and said to ask his Mother & fiancée how things were there for him. So I contacted them and was horrified to learn of how Mr Thakrar, and they as his visitors, have been treated since his move to HMP Manchester. I am writing to ask that you urgently look into these matters of concern.

Mr Thakrar’s fiancée has written to you on three different occasions now and is yet to receive a reply. If there is someone else that visitors and other worried friends and family should be contacting with their concerns could you please inform me to whom we should be writing to?

Mr Thakrar was transferred from HMP Woodhill’s Close Supervision Unit, and he was told that this move would be a progressive transfer with the sole focus being on Psychology. However, from all accounts the move has been anything but progressive. Mr Thakrar has not even been seen by a psychologist since his arrival at HMP Manchester, he states that his conditions are much worse there than they were at HMP Woodhill; he feels less safe, and his visitors are being abused by members of prison staff.

A very serious incident occurred when his Mother & fiancée visited Mr Thakrar recently on the 30thof June. During their visit they were both searched by a male member of staff. I would very much hope that prison staff at HMP Manchester are aware that a female Muslim should not be within the close proximity of the opposite sex unless they are related. On another occasion Mr Thakrar’s fiancée was searched after a visit, this time by a female member of staff, but in full view of numerous prisoners, and the prison officer took delight in leaving the visits room door open whilst carrying out the search. This is a very serious matter indeed and needs your urgent attention to ensure that female staff are available to search female visitors, and that it is done with dignity and respect of visitors faith. I have recommended that Mr Thakrar’s fiancée voice her concerns with the Muslim Council of Britain should this issue arise again.

The following is a list of other issues that have occurred since Mr Thakrar’s transfer to HMP Manchester:

* His visitors being approved for extended visits, but not receiving the full time allocated.
* His visitors being sworn at and spoken to very rudely by prison staff, on more than one occasion.
* At first Mr Thakrar’s visits were held in a ‘closed visit booth’, where the prisoner and visitor are prevented from having any form of physical contact and prevented from passing any item. However, according to prison guidelines, closed visits should be applied where prisoners are proved or reasonably suspected of involvement in prohibited item smuggling through visits. Mr Thakrar has never been suspected of involvement in prohibited item smuggling through visits; so how can these closed visiting conditions be justified? The situation has since
deteriorated. Mr Thakrar was given a notice in the last few days saying that he is now on ‘full closed visits’, so there is glass dividing him from his visitors.
* Mr Thakrar has recently been moved to an isolation cell and is not allowed to mix with any other prisoners. This move to isolation will mean that he has even less time out of his cell.
* Mr Thakrar has been told that when he does get to see mental health workers, it will now be in the presence of two prison officers, in a room which is surrounded by cameras monitored by CCTV. Which is hardly a therapeutic environment. It also raises questions over Mr Thakrar’s right to patient confidentiality. If this extreme security and monitoring of Mr Thakrar is really necessary, why was he allowed to talk to the prison chaplain on a one-to-one basis?
* Mr Thakrar has not been given any reasons for the sudden upgrade in security that I have listed in the previous three points, other than, ‘security intel’. Could you please explain to me exactly what has happened to justify this recent severe upgrade in security?
* Why has Mr Thakrar’s entitlement to visits been reduced? He was entitled to 4 x 2 hour visits per month in HMP Woodhill, but is now only allowed 6 x 1 hour visits per month. Is this standard for other prisoners in HMP Manchester, or a special condition that is being applied to Mr Thakrar? His visitors now have to travel a much greater distance, at a much greater travelling cost, to then only be allowed a one hour visit. His fiancée’s journey is now over 300 miles at a cost of about £100 each visit. A prison is meant to assist prisoners in maintaining family ties, not as it seems, do everything within it’s power to isolate them.
* Mr Thakrar has requested, on numerous occasions, to see a governor, but to this date has not. Is this normal?
* He has frequently experienced a delay in receiving his mail as well as his mail being sent out, including his mail which has visiting orders enclosed.
* Mr Thakrar was told by prison staff that they’d give his visitors a very hard time. I would hope that you are shocked and appalled to hear that staff employed in your prison are behaving in this way. It would seem that they are doing everything within their power to stop Mr Thakrar receiving visits and to cut him off from the outside world. His visitors do confirm that staff at HMP Manchester make their visits as uncomfortable as possible.
* Mr Thakrar has regularly had phone numbers removed from the list of approved numbers that he is allowed to call, without any prior warning or justification since his arrival at HMP Manchester.

Mr Thakrar has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but instead of this being a ‘progressive move’, he is being bullied, harassed and victimised, which will only worsen his condition. Now the important question is, are these the actions of some ‘rogue’ prison officers that should be disciplined and instructed to behave in a correct and professional manner in the future; or is Mr Thakrar’s treatment sanctioned and encouraged from further up the hierarchy? I would hope that you were until recently not aware of these issues, but your lack of response to Mr Thakrar’s fiancée’s previous letters suggest otherwise.

I hope that you find the details listed in this letter very disturbing, that you can reassure me that this treatment of Mr Thakrar and his visitors is not acceptable in HMP Manchester, and that you will investigate these matters urgently.

Yours sincerely

CC: Claire Hodson – Operational Manager – CSC/ Managing Challenging Behaviour Strategy (MBCS) – Directorate of High Security

CC: Richard Vince – Deputy Director of High Security

CC: The Independent Monitoring Board

CC: Stephen McPartland – MP for Stevenage

CC: Graham Stringer – MP for Blackley and Broughton

CC: Lorna Elliot – Lound Mulrenan Jeffries Solicitors

Tags: , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 at 5:46 pm and is filed under Prison Struggle.