From Payday Men’s Network working with the Global Women’s Strike
Kevan Thakrar has been in solitary confinement in UK prisons for more than eight years. The UN has called for “an absolute prohibition” on solitary confinement over 15 days, while Amnesty International calls it “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”. But can you imagine being in solitary over the holidays? Please help us break his isolation.
Mr Thakrar was first put in solitary confinement after he was exonerated in relation to a charge of assaulting prison officers. As a man of colour, he has been a consistent target for racism by staff.
We are campaigning to have Mr Thakrar released into general population immediately and need your help. Please write to your MP. Below you will find a template letter which has more details about Mr Thakrar’s situation which you can adapt as you choose and forward to your MP. You can find the email address of your MP here.
Please also consider writing to Kevan and telling him what you are doing about his case. His address is:
Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
Or email him using www.emailaprisoner.com
Check out http://justiceforkevan.org/
Please let us know that you have taken action by cc’ing us at email@example.com
Niki Adams, Legal Action for Women
Sam Weinstein, Payday
Refusing to kill or be killed
Template MP Letter in Support of Kevan Thakrar
Dear xxx MP:
As one of your constituents, I am asking for you to please intervene in the case of Kevan Thakrar prisoner (A4907AE) who has been held in solitary confinement (in a Close Supervision Centre – (CSC)) for more than eight years.
Until July 2018 he was being held in HMP Long Lartin where he was confined to his cell for more than 23 hours a day. His cell was filthy, stank and was infested with insects. As a result of protests and intervention by a member of parliament, he was moved to a “small-group isolation wing” in HMP Whitemoor and had more access to various facilities. However, shortly afterwards, giving a spurious reason that he was “not engaging with staff”, the prison moved him back onto a restrictive regime, confined to his cell for 23 hours a day.
Mr Thakrar was first put in solitary confinement over eight years ago after he was exonerated in relation to a charge of assaulting prison officers. It came out in court that Mr Thakrar had acted in self defence after himself being attacked by guards and being “physically and sexually abused by staff” — some of which “regarded all non-white prisoners as Muslims and subjected them to constant anti-Muslim abuse”.
Recent evidence of racism within the prison system also raises concerns that Mr Thakrar may be being targeted because he is a man of colour.
[IF YOU WANT, PLEASE ADD SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY YOU ARE CONCERNED]
The isolation that Mr Thakrar is subjected to is in breach of International law for the treatment of prisoners. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture called for “an absolute prohibition” of “indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days”. Amnesty International condemned CSC (known as Special Security Units at the time) saying that the lack of adequate exercise, sport, educational and work facilities, natural daylight and long-distance vision and adequate medical treatment, “constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
As far as I understand, the only justification for keeping someone in isolation is that they are a danger to others. But Mr Thakrar has not been convicted of any violent incidents during the 11 years he has been imprisoned. In 2014, a detailed psychological assessment concluded that his risk levels are so low that there is no reason for him to remain in the CSC. Mr Thakrar points to evidence that he is being discriminated against — other prisoners who have been convicted of violence, including attacks which resulted in the death of fellow inmates, remain in general population.
There is also evidence which indicates that Mr Thakrar’s original conviction, based as it was on the discredited theory of Joint Enterprise and unreliable identification and hearsay evidence, was a miscarriage of justice. For more information on the case please go to: http://justiceforkevan.org/.
Can you please represent me on this matter and ask the minister responsible for an explanation, and investigate in other ways why Mr Thakrar has been in solitary for so many years. If the prison authorities claim to have good reasons for refusing to release Mr Thakrar into general population then that decision must be publicised so that it can be subjected to public scrutiny,
I feel strongly that we must insist on a high standard of care and accountability from those that have responsibility for prisoners. The treatment of Mr Thakrar has been appalling and the issue must be immediately remedied.
Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rory Stewart, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) email@example.com
Richard Burgon, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, firstname.lastname@example.org