Letter: Who is Britain to lecture others about human rights?

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The Independent Online
Sir: It was with sadness and anger that we read about the tragic death of Joy Gardner, who died while allegedly being restrained by police officers at her home after being served her deportation papers ('Police accused of brutality', 3 August). Last week an inquest jury at St Pancras returned a verdict that the Zairean asylum-seeker Omasase Lumumba, who was being held in Pentonville prison under the Immigration Act, had been 'unlawfully killed' while being restrained by prison officers who were using 'improper methods and excessive force'.

To rely on the inherently secret Police Complaints Authority investigation and the unfairness of the inquest system with its many procedural problems - notably the absence of legal aid for representation of the bereaved, and the lack of disclosure of witness statements in advance of the inquest - is clearly unacceptable.

We support calls for an immediate, independent and public inquiry into these deaths and for an urgent review of the powers of arrest and detention under the Immigration Act.

Yours faithfully,




United Campaigns for Justice

London, N4