Harris Nyatsanza, a Zimbabwean torture survivor, was detained in 2005. When he became too weak to walk during a prolonged hunger strike, Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre refused to take him to hospital. A visitor contacted an independent doctor, Frank Arnold, who intervened. Only after a High Court order was Harris released to hospital, handcuffed, on day 28 of his hunger strike.
After he recovered, he and Dr Arnold brought together a handful of ex-detainees and activists for a campaign meeting. The group called itself Medical Justice. We became a registered charity in 2009. We now have 7 members of staff and about 100 volunteer clinicians and interpreters.
Harris Nyatsanza with Lord Ramsbotham, Medical Justice Parliamentary Launch, July 12th 2007
|In 2015 Medical Justice was nominated for the Liberty “Long Walk” Human Rights Award alongside the “Mau Mau” litigants and the Hillsborough Family Support Group.|
"Dr Arnold quite literally saved my life. It was a miracle to get help from outside like that. I'm devastated that many other detainees didn't get the help they needed. That's why, as soon as I could start walking again, I and some other ex-detainees spoke to Frank about setting up an organisation to help those we'd left behind in detention."
Most detainees were handcuffed on external appointments, even though they all underwent individual risk assessments. This included some detainees assessed as low risk, a dying man and a man in a wheelchair following a stroke.
Mr J came to the UK after having been tortured in his home country. When in the UK he suffered from PTSD and depression and attempted suicide. He claimed asylum, which was refused and he was eventually detained.