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Baxter Critical Incident - Update

Baxter Critical Incident –

Media Update

Report from a friend

There's a detainee [referred to in this report as "A"] with a long history of serious mental and physical illness. He requested medical treatment, but is afraid to leave the compound because of frequent bouts of being locked up in Management (ISOLATION CELLS). At 5 am this morning approximately 30 guards with shields and batons arrived to take him, ostensibly to go to medical but he fears they'll take him to management. He climbed on the roof. Nobody slept last night.

Background

This man has been getting sicker and sicker over 3 years. His treatment has consisted of frequent lock-ups in isolation in Management. HE IS NOW SO FRIGHTENED THAT HE WILL NOT LEAVE THE COMPOUND. He is mentally and physically ill and is looked after by fellow detainees. When he needs medical help , his friends ask for the nurse to come to the compound.

Last week other detainees sat down outside the office demanding that medical help be given to "A" in the compound because of his great fear of being put in Management and as a result the nurse attended to him.

Yesterday he sought help and the manager refused to give him medical help unless he left the compound. This morning at 5am, 30 guards came to his room to take him. He resisted with help from the other detainees and fighting resulted. Tony - Assistant Centre Manager - was asked by the others to leave him in the compound and provide medical treatment for him there. The other detainees are asking Tony to negotiate with the Manager to allow "A" to stay in the compound. Tony then rang the Centre manager but came back saying he was sorry , it was out of his hands, he has orders to take him. Officers proceeded to place ladders on the roof and the detainees tried to prevent them. Then a major fight broke out between both groups.

Now Detainees are locked inside. Apparently there are now approximately 50 offices in riot gear amassing outside the compound in the process of breaking the lock to get inside. Detainees say they are afraid because they have nothing to defend themselves and fear there will be gassed and beaten.

"A"'s lawyer rang and spoke to the Manager who refused to acknowledge that it was her client on the roof or any information. Gordon Barrett QC is outside seeking entry to the centre. The manager is refusing to mediate. For some reason they want an all out riot.

There is no need for this. The detainees want to talk him off the roof and look after him. GSL want to punish him for being sick.

Vanstones office has been contacted - "We want nothing to do with this matter. we know about it and we are leaving it to the Professionals. It is nothing to do with us."

Here is a small piece of evidence from his case - to understand what drives people crazy apart from being locked interminably.

A's case 13/8/02 Tribunal Member Philippa McIntosh

"…the independent sources do not indicate that there is any government policy to disadvantage or discriminate against the Arab population because of their race or a political opinion imputed to them generally. I am not satisfied that such a policy exists in Iran."

Contradictory findings

RRT reference N01/40727 [4/2/02] Tribunal Member Philippa McIntosh

(Used to reject a visa based on the claim that an Arab Iranian had harassed the female applicant)

"Arabs are subject to discrimination in Iran....Indeed in 1994 the UN human rights commission documented severe human rights violations and denounced Iran's treatment of Arab and other minorities (1995, Iran, Anti-semitism World Report, pp.257-260, CX24206), and its treatment of Arab and other minorities was again heavily criticised by human rights agencies in 1996 (1997, Iran, Anti-semitism World Report, p.318-321, CX26159).

"According to a UNHCR overview, using sources including Human Rights Watch and the U.K.-based Minority Rights Group, while attempts to attain autonomy in 1979 gave way to support for Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, Arab activists allege that the government is trying to stamp out their culture, and many reportedly live in "exceptionally depressed conditions" holding lower-paying jobs than non-Arabs in the oil industry and agribusiness. (1998, Background Paper on Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Iran, UNHCR, Centre for Documentation and Research, Geneva, September, section. 2.4)."

ENDS


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