Letter: Britain treats heroes of free speech like criminals

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Sir: Ann Widdecombe (Letters, 6 February) fails to explain why an asylum-seeker who had spoken up for a party banned by the ruling regime in Algeria, where he was tortured to unconsciousness and raped, was imprisoned again, following his arrival in the UK, without trial.

He was unable to understand why he was treated like a criminal in this country, having committed no crime. Following an exchange with a fellow inmate he was punished with solitary confinement for three days. He attempted suicide. He required two admissions to a psychiatric hospital. He was eventually given refugee status.

This is not an isolated case. It is the inevitable result of a policy which intentionally treats human beings like dead starlings hung on a fence to frighten the other asylum seekers away. It is no way to treat these heroes of free speech, in the country that invented the idea and claims to stand for it.

The Rev PAUL NICOLSON

Member, Asylum Seekers Bail Circle

Turville,

Buckinghamshire

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