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Algerian man dies in London immigration detention centre

Exclusive: Home Office confirms 51-year-old's death at site near Heathrow

Tom Embury-Dennis,May Bulman
Friday 07 December 2018 20:08 GMT
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Harmondsworth immigration removal centre at Heathrow holds large numbers of men with mental health problems
Harmondsworth immigration removal centre at Heathrow holds large numbers of men with mental health problems (Getty)

An Algerian man has died in an immigration detention centre in London.

The Home Office confirmed the 51-year-old detainee died at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, near Heathrow Airport, on Sunday.

“Our thoughts are with his next of kin at this sad time,” a Home Office spokesperson said. "As is the case with any death in detention, the police have been informed and the matter referred to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

"We will make no further comment while this is being investigated."

The Independent has chosen not to name the man until it can confirm his family have been informed.

The death comes after it was revealed earlier this year that the Harmondsworth site - the largest detention centre in Europe - had the highest number of self-harm cases in the UK.

There were 150 incidents of detainees requiring medical treatment for self-harm over a 20-month period between January 2016 and August 2017.

A Home Office spokesperson insisted in April it took self-harm "seriously" and took "every step is taken to prevent it".

An official inspection of Harmondsworth also revealed torture victims were being held there despite the government accepting evidence of their vulnerability.

The centre continued to show “considerable failings” in safety and respect for detainees, a prison inspection report said.

Suicides in immigration detention centres kept 'state secret' by Home Office, says former prison ombudsman Stephen Shaw

Earlier this week, an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport where G4S guards were filmed abusing detainees was found only suitable to hold people “for a few weeks".

A G4S commissioned review into Brook House found the centre was short-staffed and officers were badly trained, driving violence among “under-occupied and bored” detainees who were given little to do.

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