Deaths in immigration detention

Updated October 2012

02/07/11 - M. Shuket

Aged 47 yrs, from Pakistan, died in Colnbrook immigration removal centre - Coronary failure

31/07/11 - B. Dalrymple

Aged 35 yrs, from the USA, died in Colnbrook immigration removal centre - Ruptured aorta

02/08/11 - J. Yohona

Aged 25 yrs, from Moldova, died in Campsfield immigration removal centre - Found hanged

Jimmy Mubenga, (46), 12/10/10

An unnamed Angolan man died after becoming ‘unwell’ during a deportation. According to the Guardian the man was being escorted by three guards from the private company G4S, on a flight that was preparing to leave from Heathrow to Luanda, Angola, paramedics were called and the man was taken to Hillingdon hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police are investigating the death. (Read Guardian article: Security guards accused over death of man being deported to Angola)

By the Institute of Race Relations, 04/08/12

Other deaths in immigration detention centres

"Below we list the deaths of the fourteen others who have died immigration detention centres since 1989.[3]

Eliud Nguli Nyenze (15/4/10)

A 40-year-old Kenyan man died at Oakington removal centre in Cambridge after apparently suffering a heart attack. Campaigners and other detainees alleged that he had been refused medical care. Following his death a disturbance erupted at Oakington and at least 60 people were transferred to prisons. In the days following the death the private company that runs the centre, G4S, was stripped of its British Safety Council award for its ‘commitment to improving health and safety’. An inquest in October 2010 was told that he had collapsed in his room. Earlier, despite complaining that he wasn’t well, he had been refused paracetamol. An ambulance took twenty minutes to reach the centre and the nurse who went to treat him did not take a defibrillator with her. The Home Office pathologist could find no cause of death but suggested sudden adult death syndrome. The coroner recorded a verdict that he died of natural causes, a verdict Eliud’s family were unhappy with.

Bereket Yohannes (19/1/06)

A 26-year-old Eritrean was found hanged in a shower block at Harmondsworth. According to other detainees at the centre, he was fearful of deportation and found conditions at the centre ‘unbearable’. He also spoke of his intention to take his life. An inquest in March 2007 was told how he had previously tried to take his own life while he was held at Dover removal centre a month prior to his death, and found that he took his own life.

Manuel Bravo (15/9/05)

An Angolan, who was detained in Yarl’s Wood in Bedford with his 13-year-old son, was found hanged in a stairwell on the morning of his 35th birthday and the day he was due to be deported. His young son was transferred to the care of members of his father’s church in Leeds. Campaigners and members of Manuel’s church called for a public inquiry into the death and the ‘illegal detention’ of Manuel who claimed he had not even received a decision on his asylum appeal and therefore could not understand why he had been served with a deportation order. In September 2006 the inquest recorded a narrative verdict that Manuel took his life in the belief that it could secure his son’s future in the UK. (Read an IRR News story: ‘Two asylum seekers took their own lives within 24 hours’)

Ramazan Kumluca (27/6/05)

An 18-year-old Kurdish asylum seeker from Turkey found hanged in Campsfield House. He had been detained for over four months and was said to be depressed after bail was refused. In July 2006, an inquest found that he had taken his own life. Police read out a statement from fellow detainees who spoke of his fears for the future as he faced deportation to Italy.

Kenny Peter (7/11/04)

A 24 year-old asylum seeker died in Charing Cross hospital, nearly three weeks after sustaining serious injuries after jumping from a second-floor landing at Colnbrook. He suffered from mental health problems and while held in detention it was recommended at least six times that he be referred to a psychiatrist – yet this was never followed up. The inquest in September 2006 recorded a lengthy narrative verdict that listed numerous deficiencies and failures by immigration staff, staff at the centre and in the healthcare unit at Colnbrook. (Read an IRR News story: ‘Kenny Peter’s inquest points to asylum failures’)

Tran Quang Tung (23/7/04)

A 35-year-old Vietnamese man found hanged in Dungavel removal Centre, he had been transferred days earlier from Harmondsworth following the disturbance after the death of Sergey Baranyuk. A fatal accident inquiry was told that Tran had been detained on 19 July for breaching bail conditions. The inquiry was told how he arrived in the UK in April 2004 and claimed asylum after having tried to claim asylum in Germany). A nurse who saw him at Harmondsworth did not know what language he spoke nor did she use an interpreter. On 21 July he was transferred to Dungavel by bus with 59 others after the disturbance. Medical staff who examined him at Dungavel were again unable to communicate with him. When an immigration officer served him with his removal notice, for 27 July, she did not have an interpreter with her. A solicitor saw him on the day of his death and was unable to have any ‘meaningful’ discussions as Tran spoke such little English. The fatal accident inquiry recommended that detained people, who did not speak good English should have access to interpreters during interviews and that documents should also be translated.

Sergey Baranyuk (19/7/04)

A 31-year-old Ukrainian was found hanged in Harmondsworth. His death sparked a night of disturbances at the centre and led to all the detainees being transferred to prisons and other detention centres. The inquest was told little about Sergey as very few people could remember him, staff at the centre and immigration staff had very little contact with him in the two months that he was held in detention. He had been assigned to the fast-track system despite having agreed to voluntary return three days after submitting his asylum claim. The inquest jury recorded a verdict that he ‘took his own life’. (Read an IRR News story: ‘Sergey forgotten at Harmondsworth’)

Kabeya Dimuka-Bijoux (1/5/04)

From the DRC, he was held at Haslar for nearly two months and died after collapsing while exercising on a treadmill. Staff attempted to resuscitate him but failed and he was pronounced dead in the gym. An inquest in July 2005 recorded a verdict of death by natural causes. However there were reports that he had died from injuries sustained two months earlier when police and officials from Reliance House immigration centre in Liverpool allegedly attacked him. (Read an IRR News story: ‘Inquest rules asylum seeker died from natural causes at Haslar’)

Elmas Ozmico (12/7/03)

A 40-year-old Kurdish asylum seeker died three days after being admitted to hospital suffering from septicaemia/ necrotising fasciitis. She had arrived at Dover on 8 July 2003 after travelling clandestinely from Turkey; it was during the journey she developed an abscess on her thigh. On arrival in the UK, she claimed asylum and her nephew (with whom she had travelled) requested a doctor and an interpreter. He says this request was ignored, as were subsequent ones. The family spent the night in detention in Dover detention centre and the following day Elmas requested a doctor, but it was not until she collapsed that it was realised that she was very ill and needed an ambulance to take her to hospital. An inquest found that she died of natural causes.(Read an IRR News story: ‘Asylum seeker death in Dover from ‘natural causes”)

Mikhail Bognarchuk (31/1/03)

A 42-year-old Ukrainian was found hanged at Haslar removal centre on the day he was due to be deported. An inquest recorded a suicide verdict. (Read an IRR News story: ‘Haslar – a place of no return’)

Olga Blaskevica (7/5/03)

A 29-year-old Latvian woman was murdered in the family holding area at Harmondsworth by her mentally ill partner, hours before the pair were due to be deported.

Robertas Grabys (24/1/00)

A 49-year-old Lithuanian was found hanged in Harmondsworth on the day he was due to be deported. A report into his death criticised the private company that was in charge of Harmondsworth at the time (Burns International). An internal Home Office inquiry found that the company did not have a formal policy to prevent suicides and that there was insufficient care. (His body was not found for over one hour as guards did not check the room, although he was known to suffer from a depressive illness.) An inquest recorded an open verdict.

Kimpua Nsimba (15/6/90)

A 24-year-old Zairean was found hanged in Harmondsworth, where no one had spoken to him in over four days. An inquest recorded a suicide verdict.

Siho Iyugiven (5/10/89)

A 27-year-old Kurdish refugee burned to death after barricading himself in his cell at Harmondsworth. His asylum claim had failed and he was facing deportation. He and his cellmate went on hunger strike, barricaded themselves in and set bedding alight as a protest. Smoke detectors were not working, few fire extinguishers worked and there were no sprinklers. An inquest recorded a misadventure verdict."