Director of a private refugee detention center in the United Kingdom has resigned after footage emerged showing officers were abusing and bullying refugees and asylum seekers being held there.
Ben Saunders, the director of Brook House in south-east England, which is run by security firm G4S, has stepped down with "immediate effect," said Jerry Petherick, managing director for G4S custodial and detention services.
Saunders is also resigning from his post at Tinsley House, another detention center, which holds refugees facing deportation from the UK.
He left his job three weeks after BBC Panorama aired footage apparently showing officers abusing detainees and mocking people who were receiving medical treatment after self-harming.
Undercover footage was filmed by a former officer, Callum Tulley, who contacted the BBC and began working undercover on their behalf.
Callum Tulley secretly filmed abuse incidents at Brook House.
 A disturbing scene showed one officer trying to choke a man, who was being restrained after a suicide attempt. The detainee had put a mobile phone battery in his mouth to strangle himself.
During the incident, a custody manager was filmed, telling him, “Plug him in and he’ll be a Duracell bunny.”
Another staff member “basically stuck both of his fingers into his [a detainee’s] neck, and he was pushing so, so hard I could hear the detainee trying to gasp for breath,” said the undercover reporter.
Tulley described the incident as “the most distressing treatment” he saw during his time at Brook House.
“There’s a culture of violence at Brook House. It’s not just a pocket of officers abusing people behind closed doors,” he said. “People will just speak about it so openly or freely.”
A view of Brook House refugee detention center
G4S said it "immediately" opened an investigation into the scandal. It said three staff were sacked and seven others remain suspended over the footage.
Human rights campaigners called for the G4S to be stripped of contracts to run refugee detention centers.
Brook House, which is one of the two centers run by G4S in the UK,  was designed to hold people for up to 72 hours ahead of deportation but some people have been detained there for almost two years. It has capacity for up to 508 adult men.
Britain is the only European country which allows indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers.

Post a Comment Blogger

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.