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Hunger strike started in Rochester Prison, Kent, on Jan 6th, 1997. About 60 people are involved, taking fluids & sugar, but nothing else. It was started by some Nigerian asylum/detainees and joined by Algerians, Jamaicans and people from E-Europe. Apparently the prison authorities tried to divide them by saying that the Africans were troublemakers but the E-Europeans did not accept this.
Their demands are to not be kept in prison, which is for criminals, while they are asylum seekers or immigrants. Some have been released & allowed to stay in this country, others transferred to other prisons or detention centres. One of the ringleaders has been transferred to Category A, which is a higher security status for prisoners.
There will be a mass picket of the prison on Saturday January 25th, 1997.
For more information you could email to
John O Reilly, email@example.com
this is the guy in charge of the NCADC in Birmingham.
A mass hunger strike by Asylum Seekers in Rochester Prison, England, began on Monday 6 January, in protest against their internment without trial.
Since last Monday (6th January) asylum seekers detained at HMP Rochester have been on hunger strike. Below we reprint the detainee's statement in full. We are asking everyone to support their demands and to protest in what ever way they can, at the end of the statement there are the address and fax numbers of those responsible for the detaining of Asylum Seekers.
"A decision from both Delta and Echo wings involving more than 200 detainees, who are in fact political Asylum seekers imprisoned in HM Prison Rochester, Kent, has voted in favour of a Mass hunger strike which will commence on 6 January 1997. Several broadcasting organisations and newspaper companies have received detailed accounts of the action and have expressed a wish to publicise this unfortunate but necessary action. Additionally, community organisations, having previously been informed of our pending action, have expressed their determination to follow through with their own lawful protest in support of our action from 4th January 1997.
We have clearly noted all previous unsuccessful attempts to resolve our unlawful imprisonment without trial, hearing or process, which should allow us the right to a fair and prompt hearing. Instead, the prison authorities hide behind the excuse that they answer to immigration authorities, who in turn use the judicial process as their reason for our continued unlawful imprisonment. We in turn remain imprisoned under the prison regime, answering to prison discipline and orders without having committed crimes, and answering to a system in which we have no voice.
Many of us have already served 2 years or more. We are detained without charge or time limit. We make this serious and urgent plea to be heard in full by an independent body and judicial committee which must be independent from the immigration and other detaining authorities. Our action will continue until such time as the above request is in motion.
Numerous suicide attempts, hunger strikes and official complaints by individuals have gone unheard. The response of the prison authorities and immigration is the forceful removal of the individual to the segregation unit, placed under prison regulations without a hearing or trial pending removal to another prison. In some extreme cases individuals are removed to a hospital without their consent so as to shift the prison's responsibility for action.
Approximately 45% of detainees have been diagnosed as having mental or physical disorders and traumas following psychological and mental torture, being poorly fed, and from deplorable sanitation. They are not given adequate medical or alternative help but instead, because of their condition and consequent behaviour, are segregated as trouble makers and lunatics.
We are therefore left with no option but to go on a mass hunger strike indefinitely."
61 Asylum Seekers are still on Hunger Strike, three Strikers have been moved to the hospital wing.
Send letters of support to
Meadway Detainees Support Group
c/o CRE 16 New Road Avenue
Kent ME4 6BA
Send letters of protest to demanding that the Hunger Strikers demands are met to
Secretary for State
Queens Anne Gate
London SW1H 9AT
You can also fax protests to
Michael Howard Fax 00 44 171-273-3965
and to officials responsible for prisons
Anne Widdicombe Fax 00 44 171-273-2043
Timothy Kirkhope Fax 00 44 171-273-3094
If possible please post, fax or E-mail copies of anything you send to
National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns
22 Berners Street, Birmingham, B19 2DR, England
Voice :00 44 121-554-6947
Fax : 00 44 121-507-1567
14 ASYLUM SEEKERS ARE STILL ON HUNGER STRIKE
ROCHESTER HUNGER STRIKERS DAY 44
Statement from the Hunger Strikers We have clearly noted all previous unsuccessful attempts to resolve our unlawful imprisonment without trial, hearing or due process, which should allow us the right to a fair and prompt hearing. Instead the prison authorities hide behind the excuse that they answer to immigration authorities who in turn use the judicial process as their reason for our continued unlawful imprisonment. We in turn remain imprisoned under the prison regime answering to prison discipline and orders with out having committed crimes and answering to a system in which we have no Voice..... Numerous suicide attempts, hunger strikes and official complaints by individuals have gone unheard. The response of the prison authorities and immigration is the forceful removal of the individual to the segregation unit, placed under prison regulations without hearing or trial pending removal to another prison. In some extreme cases individuals are removed to a hospital without their consent so as to shift the prisons responsibility for action.....
ONE HUNGER STRIKER HAS SUFFERED A STROKE AND IS PARALYSED ON ONE SIDE OF HIS BODY. ANOTHER HAS SUFFERED KIDNEY FAILURE. Please Fax the Home Office, demanding the release of all hunger strikers and all those held in detention Immediately.
Michael Howard Secretary for State. 0171-273-3965 +44-171-273-3965
Anne Widdecombe 0171-273-3094
Timothy Kirkhope 0171-273-4604
Please post or fax copies of any thing you send to NCADC, numbers at top of page.
fax to :
M. Michael Howard
Secretary of State
fax : 00 44 171-273-3965
officials in charge of prisons
Sud-Education supports actively their claims :
Informed of the mass hunger strike of asylum/detainees at Rochester prison (GB), SUD-Education union expresses its solidarity with the hunger strikers. We consider that Rochester strikers and immigrants in France face the same xenophobic, anti-immigrants and anti-democratic policies. SUD-Education supports the claims of Rochester hunger strikers, and therefore demands :
Jean François Fontana