Category Archives: Foreign Prisons
The family of a murdered prison officer who was widely believed to have been killed by the IRA has held a meeting with Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams.
Brian Stack, who was Chief Prison Officer at Portlaoise Prison in the Irish Republic, was shot in Dublin in 1983. He died 18 months later.
The IRA never claimed responsibility for the murder, but his family believe he was targeted because of his job.
His son, Austin Stack, described the meeting as very productive and genuine.
Two of the murdered officer’s sons met Mr Adams at the Irish houses of parliament in Dublin on Thursday evening.
Speaking after the meeting, Austin Stack told the Irish state broadcaster RTE that no promises has been made, but that the Sinn Fein president had agreed to help them as best he could.
Mr Stack added that his family felt the offer was genuine and said they are due to meet Mr Adams again in about four weeks.
His father was shot in the back of the neck as he walked along Dublin’s South Circular Road shortly after leaving a boxing tournament.
He was the only prison officer to be assassinated in the Republic of Ireland during the Troubles.
The man who carried out the shooting escaped on a motorbike, driven by an accomplice.
The prison officer was left brain damaged and paralysed from the neck down by the shooting and died from his injuries.
Austin Stack, the eldest of his three children, was 14 at the time of the shooting and is now the assistant governor of Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin.
He said he believes the IRA carried out the attack because his father thwarted a number attempts by members of the paramilitary group to escape from Portlaoise Prison and to smuggle weapons into the high security jail.
Mr Stack has said he wants the IRA to admit responsibility for his father’s murder and his family want answers and closure from their discussions with the Sinn Fein president.
They have asked Mr Adams to speak to his contacts about the killing in the hope they can find out who carried it out and why.
“We’re not looking for any form of revenge. We would like to sit down with those people, talk to them and get some form of responsibility.”
Mr Adams, who stepped down as MP for West Belfast to become a member of the Irish parliament two years ago, has consistently denied that he was ever a member of the IRA.
Speaking after the meeting, the Sinn Fein president told RTE it had been a “good” and “comprehensive discussion”.
“There are many families who are looking for closure. It may be that I won’t be able to help but I certainly have the desire to be of assistance,” Mr Adams said.
He added: “We have each agreed to go off and reflect on what was said. And we have agreed to meet again.”
Just one in 13 foreigners who took part in the riots of 2011 have been deported, it emerged today.
More than 200 foreign criminals were convicted for their part in the riots, which saw shops looted, businesses burnt to the ground and hundreds of millions of pounds of damage done.
Of the 201 cases passed to the UK Border Agency (UKBA), only 15 have been kicked out the country, showed figures released to the Daily Mail following a Freedom of Information request.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “Any foreign national who abuses the privilege of coming to the UK by committing a serious offence should face the consequences.
“Many of those convicted of involvement in last summer’s riots are still behind bars – that’s where they belong. We are pursuing deportation in scores of cases and wherever possible, when they have paid their debt to society, we will remove them from the UK.”
Some 28 have been given permission to stay because they “do not meet deportation criteria”, while a total of 63 are still in prison or in immigration detention awaiting deportation. Three others have been allowed to remain after legal appeals.
Another 53 are classed as “still being considered for deportation”, while there are 31 who have been given temporary admission while their cases are considered.
And three convicted foreign rioters have absconded after failing to comply with bail conditions, while five others are still waiting to be sentenced.
Burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage and disorder were among the offences committed.
The UK Border Agency set up Operation Lancaster to track and remove foreign offenders involved in “serious criminality” during the riots in August 2011.
The Government said it is determined to remove law-breakers from the country at the earliest opportunity.
The rules state that any non-EU national sentenced to more than 12 months in prison will be automatically recommended for deportation at the end of their sentence, while EU nationals will be considered for deportation when sentenced to 24 months or more.
Shortly after the riots, the Ministry of Justice released a list showing 44 nationalities of convicted rioters, including those from Afghanistan, Cuba, Ethiopia and Samoa.
The largest group was Jamaicans, followed by Somali and Polish offenders, while other rioters came from Colombia, Iraq, the Congo, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
The High Court has ruled that a foreign national jailed for 12 months for robbery is entitled to damages because he was detained too long while attempts were made to deport him.
A judge ruled Aziz Lamari, an Algerian citizen, should have been released last month.
By then it was clear there was no reasonable likelihood of deportation taking place within a reasonable time, and Lamari was suffering from mental illness “driven” by his detention, said the judge.
The Home Secretary was also found guilty of contempt of court because her department failed to release Lamari after it eventually accepted he should no longer be in detention and gave an undertaking to release him into suitable accommodation.
The 22-year-old Algerian national now joins a growing number of foreign criminals awarded compensation after being held too long under immigration rules pending attempts to deport.
Deputy High Court judge Barry Cotter QC said Lamari was detained after his robbery sentence came to an end in December 2010 and his deportation had been ordered.
By the time the High Court began hearing his case in May he had been held for over 17 months.
The judge said it was not in dispute that he had attempted suicide or serious harm on at least four occasions since April 2011.
Home Office lawyers argued detention before removal was clearly reasonable because of his “remarkable history of absconding and serious offending” and the risk of him re-offending.
In the nine months between July 2009 and April 2010 he was reported to have absconded three times, said Judge Cotter.
He also fled the country, was returned and was then convicted twice for offences of exposure, and later of robbery at Wood Green Crown Court in north London.
The judge said Lamari first arrived in the UK in July 2009 and was arrested within days and applied for asylum.
He was moved to Liverpool but absconded and was arrested in Cambridgeshire on August 13 after being found in the back of a lorry with three other people.
He absconded again and was arrested in Rotterdam in Holland and returned to England to have his asylum claim dealt with in the UK.
Judge Cotter said he absconded a third time in September 2009, and failed to turn up for an asylum interview a month later.
Two years later, in September 2011, he was diagnosed as having a “suicidal ideation” after making a serious suicide attempt and receiving treatment at Hillingdon hospital, north-west London.
When examined by a consultant psychiatrist in April 2012, soon after further suicide attempts, he was further diagnosed as suffering from a mixed anxiety-depressive disorder “driven” by his indefinite detention.
The judge said immigration case law stated the Home Secretary could only hold a person pending deportation for a reasonable period.
If it became clear that deportation could not take place within a reasonable period the power of detention should not be used.
Problems had arisen over getting Lamari sent back to Algeria, and it had now become clear that the Home Secretary was “effectively powerless to progress matters”.
The judge said that by early September 2011 Lamari had been diagnosed as mentally ill and “there was a clear risk that the claimant would quite quickly deteriorate” as detention was “the driving factor of the mental condition”.
He was “a young man now broken by the experience of custody” who was desperate to avoid further detention.
The judge ruled detention could no longer be justified after May this year, after the latest medical reports had been received and it became clear there was no realistic prospect of him being removed within a reasonable timeframe.
He said Lamari should have been released from detention, subject to suitable arrangements, by May 23 at the latest and was entitled to damages for the subsequent period of unlawful detention.
The judge ordered that the amount of damages should now be assessed, if not agreed, by the Queen’s bench division of the High Court.
A UK Border Agency spokesman said an urgent review of the Lamari case was taking place.
The spokesman said: “Aziz Lamari is a failed asylum seeker who had served custodial sentences for serious offences.
“He was held in immigration detention awaiting removal to Algeria and we accept that he was not released on the date set by the court, which resulted in today’s judgment.
“We are reviewing how this happened urgently.”
South African authorities today said they were releasing up to 35,000 inmates to ease overcrowding in the nation’s prisons.
Police minister Nathi Mthethwa said some 14,600 prisoners would be released “conditionally or unconditionally”, along with more than 20,000 offenders on probation or parole who qualify to have sentences cut.
President Jacob Zuma announced the pardons, known as special remission of sentences, to mark the anniversary yesterday of Nelson Mandela winning the nation’s first all-race elections in 1994.
Mr Mthethwa said violent criminals and those jailed for sexual, drug-related and weapons offences will not be freed.
Prison overcrowding was being reduced from 34% over capacity to about 20%.
Since 1994, prisoners have been amnestied on several symbolic occasions.