Letter: Torture victims

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Sir: The suggestion by HM Inspectorate of Prisons to convert HMP Aldington to an "immigration detainee holding centre" (report, 6 November) is ill-conceived.

The Home Office repeatedly says that it detains only a small percentage of asylum seekers and only in exceptional circumstances. Why then build another detention centre for them? These people have committed no crime in the UK, yet they can be locked up for indefinite periods. Some of them have suffered torture. The further detention of torture survivors who have already suffered so greatly is, from any moral standpoint, inadmissible.

This widely trailed notion of a new detention centre - as well as the Home Secretary's abrupt announcement to Parliament last week to restrict to five days the time that most asylum seekers will have to present legal and medical evidence of persecution - smacks of opportunism in the wake of the Roma (Gypsy) hysteria at Dover.

SHERMAN CARROLL

Director of Public Affairs

Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture

London NW5

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