16th September 2014

On 5th September 2014, Rubel Ahmed, a 26 year old immigration detainee from Bangladesh was pronounced dead at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre. Mr Ahmed was detained at Morton Hall IRC for approximately two months.

There was a significant delay in Mr Ahmed’s family being informed of his death. His family report that they were given very little information from officials and that they were initially referred to the press office.  The family had to make numerous enquiries before they were put in contact with a Family Liaison Officer from the Home Office to confirm Mr Ahmed’s death. The family were reliant on reports from other detainees at Morton Hall IRC and were informed that Mr Ahmed was calling for medical assistance prior to his death. Mr Ahmed’s family are still uncertain about the cause of his death.

Mr Ahmed’s family have issued the following statement:

“We the family are shocked and distressed by the way the detention centre treated us immediately after the death. They refused to tell us whether Rubel had died after we received information from other detainees. We were simply given the telephone number for a press office which was not being answered on the weekend. They were unsympathetic and unhelpful despite desperate pleas for any information.

“Investigations have begun and the family call upon investigators to carry out a full, fearless and thorough investigation. We are concerned that all detainees who are witnesses should be contacted to provide their accounts. We have grave concerns that Rubel's desperate cries for medical assistance were not answered and that he was deprived of basic human rights to receive care when he clearly needed it. We call upon the investigators to fully explore events and get to the truth."

Deborah Coles, INQUEST Co-Director said:

"The grief of this family has been compounded by the insensitive way in which they were treated after his death and the lack of timely and accurate information in direct contravention of the Family Liaison Principles. It is vital for both the family and wider public interest that this death is subjected to thorough scrutiny and that those in detention can effectively participate.“The plight of those held in immigration detention and the systemic neglect of detainees’ mental and physical ill health is evidenced by the high numbers of deaths, suicide attempts and self harm."

Mr Ahmed’s family have asked that their privacy be respected at this difficult time and that they will not be providing any further statements or interviews at this stage of the investigation process.

INQUEST is working with the family of Mr Ahmed and his lawyer, ILG member Nogah Ofer of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors and the families of another 8 detainees who have died in IRC and prisons holding immigration detainees.

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