Hunger striker taken to hospital

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The Independent Online
AN ASYLUM-SEEKER was taken to hospital yesterday as the condition of dozens of detainees on hunger strike at immigration detention centres further deteriorated, writes Jason Bennetto.

More than 180 people at nine centres and prisons are refusing to eat, in protest at being locked up for up to a year while their cases are processed. The demonstrations, which have spread across the country, are now into their 11th day.

A hunger striker was sent to Epsom general hospital in Surrey from High Down detention centre near by, after medical staff became concerned about his health. He was undergoing tests last night. Another man at the centre who was also refusing to eat was deported to Canada yesterday.

The largest demonstration is at Campsfield Hall at Kidlington, near Oxford, where the protests began. Of the more than 90 people on hunger strike there, 12 are being kept in an isolated unit. At Haslar detention centre near Gosport, Hampshire, nine of the 49 hunger strikers are under close medical supervision. There are also a significant number of people refusing to eat at Canterbury Prison and Harmondsworth detention centre, near Heathrow.

Civil rights groups yesterday sent a letter signed by campaigners, including the Dean of Westminster, to the Home Secretary expressing concern about the hunger strikes and the growing numbers of detainees - in February there were 720.