Letter: Plea for freedom

Sir: we are the immigration solicitors for six asylum seekers acquitted on the 17 June of violent disorder at Campsfield Detention Centre and three others originally charged but against whom charges were dropped after committed.

We write to make an open plea to the minister responsible for immigration, Mike O'Brien, to take account of the huge suffering and anxiety which has been inflicted on them by unfair and untrue accusations. Two of our clients are aged only 17. One is in a psychiatric hospital and may never recover from the damage done to his mental health and well being.

Both he and another of the accused have made serious and nearly successful suicide attempts. Before the prosecution announced its decision to accept that the evidence by Group 4 officers had been wholly unreliable and that they would not pursue the matter, many of the defendants were in tears at the injustice of the evidence being given against them. Video evidence showed that those taking part in the protest at Campsfield contained many white and Asian people yet only black Africans were identified and charged.

All our clients remain in prison even though they have been acquitted. The court proceedings have resulted in them being named in the press and placed at additional risk of persecution if returned to their own countries. In this recent report Sir David Ramsbotham criticised the lack of any judicial review for immigration detention and the demoralising effect on immigration detainees. Our clients have suffered enough. We call on the Home Office Minister to end their misery, release them and grant them leave to remain in the country.


Christian Fisher,

Museum Street, London WC


Rosetta Offonry & Co


Winstanley Burgess