Kidney transplant patient Roseline Akhalu was detained by the UK immigration authorities for the second time on Wednesday 16 May and is at risk of deportation to Nigeria where, doctors warn, she will die if she cannot afford medical care. This is Roseline’s account of her first detention in March. Reliance Secure Task Management is a commercial contractor that provides escort services to the UK Border Agency. More details of Roseline’s case follow below her story.
I write to complain about the cruel and degrading way I was treated by the Reliance staff when they were taking me to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre in Bedfordshire.
I am making this complaint to the Prison and Probation Ombudsman because I am completely dissatisfied with the explanation given by Reliance as to why their staff should treat me worst than a criminal. As a detainee I am not a murderer or a terrorist. Given the fact that I am somebody with serious medical condition, that is, kidney, my well-being was ignored, my dignity was not considered.
0n 16 March 2012 at about 11 AM I arrived at the UK Border Agency Reporting office for my monthly reporting when I was told I was being detained. Reliance firm was contracted to transport me from Leeds to Yarl’s Wood. On our way I got the greatest humiliation and embarrassment of my life, because of the cruel and degrading manner I was treated.
I demanded to use the toilet some distance to Manchester; I was told I will be taken to the Police Station to use the toilet. On getting to Manchester, rather than take me to the Police Station to use the toilet the Duty Custody Officers (DCOs) took me to their unit office for a change over of duty. My need for toilet was ignored. I was not allowed to use the toilet in the unit office even when I could see the toilet door from the stationary van where I was held.
As I could no longer endure to hold back my urine, the DCOs gave me a plastic bag to urinate in. At this time I had started urinating on my body and when I eventually used the plastic bag the urine was in the van my hands and body. I felt very humiliated and upset. It is pertinent to note that I urinated in the full view of the CCTV camera in van. My privacy was not a matter of concern to the DCOs, and my dignity was not respected.
Reliance said plastic bags are used in an emergency situation when it is not possible to use the toilet. But in my case the van was stationed/stopped at their unit, I could see the toilet when I rose to be led there only to be disallowed. Except for malicious cruelty with intent to mentally torture me they knew what was proper to do.
The person investigating the complaint did not state whether or not the detainee made any move or attempted at any time to escape that made them think that it was too risky to allow her use the toilet at the unit office.
This cruel treatment made me suffer a serious urinary tract infection on my arrival at Yarl’s Wood because I had to sit on my wet clothes till we got to Yarl’s Wood at 10.30 PM. I was subsequently treated for this by the Yarl’s Wood doctors. It caused me depression as I still find it difficult to comprehend the whole incident.
They said the journey from Manchester to Yarl’s Wood was uneventful. This was because having been humiliated to sit on my own urine I was too upset to say any word to them.
The urinary tract infection I suffered was very devastating and has left me vulnerable to other infections which are dangerous to me a kidney transplant patient; My privacy was breached and my dignity taken away as I was made to urinate in the full view of a CCTV camera on the van; I sat in my own urine from Manchester to Yarl’s Wood a cruel treatment that cannot be given to a dog in this country
The whole experience has made me depressed because I still find difficult to think that humans can be so cruel to fellow human.
For a full report on Roseline’s case read Kidney Transplant Patient Detained Again
Also sign the petition asking that Roseline Akhalu be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.