Urgent: Protect Kevan Thakrar from racist violence

This evening prisoner Kevan Thakrar called to inform IWOC that a known racist attempted to take his life this afternoon.

Kevin McCarthy stabbed Kevan more than four times while Kevan was at the food servery. He used a wooden shank and shouted “die, die, die!” whilst stabbing Kevan. Kevan has four puncture wounds on his back and bruises and scratches after also being hit on the head. Kevin walked past two prison officers neither of whom intervened to prevent or stop the attack until Kevan turned round to defend himself. Even then, no officers put their hands on Kevin or restrained him. No alarms were pressed/no shouting for help. Kevin McCarthy actually walked back into his own cell and locked himself in. The prison failed to take him to hospital but he was treated by two nurses on the wing.

This is the second attack Kevan has experienced in HMP Full Sutton in recent months. Kevan’s solicitor had raised a complaint about Kevin McCarthy prior to Kevan being moved onto the CSC because Kevin has perpetrated racist attacks against other prisoners before. Kevan is shaken and in need of support to demand the prison move him to a safer location and take action to stop further racist attacks on his life. Feel free to use your own words as well as the sample scripts below.

Call script:

Hello, I am calling on behalf of Kevan Thakrar who is currently in the CSC at HMP Full Sutton. Kevan was stabbed four times yesterday by a known racist prisoner. Two prison officers were present and did not act to prevent or stop the attack until Kevan turned around to protect himself. This is the second attack Kevan has experienced in HMP Full Sutton in recent months and yet he is still held in the CSC.

I am really concerned about Kevan’s safety in the CSC and I am calling to demand that he is moved out of the CSC and to a safer location immediately.

Letter template:

I am writing as a concerned community member on hearing of a physical attack against Kevan Thakrar (A4907AE) that occurred yesterday, 23rd December at the Close Supervision Centre, HMP Full Sutton.

As I understand it, two prison officers were present and did not act to prevent or stop the attack until Kevan turned around to protect himself, the officers did not restrain the person attacking Kevan and no alarms were raised.

This is the second attack Kevan has experienced in HMP Full Sutton in recent months. Kevan has made complaints about threats of violence from known racist prisoners but no action has been taken. The person who stabbed Kevan is known to have racist views, and shouted ‘die, die die’ while stabbing Kevan. Kevan’s solicitor had raised a complaint about the person who stabbed Kevan before Kevan was moved onto the unit, as this person has made racist attacks on others.

In addition I believe that Kevan has not been seen by a Doctor and the person who stabbed Kevan remains on the same unit as him.

I am extremely concerned about Kevan’s safety and wellbeing in the CSC. Kevan has PTSD and these acts of violence add further traumas and I imagine he must be fearful for his life.

The environment created in the Close Supervision Centre makes it more likely for these acts of extreme violence to occur, and Kevan is at risk of further attacks there.

As per the Adult Safeguarding in Prison policy (National Offender Management Service 2016) Point 1.5 states that ‘All adult prisoners are protected from abuse and neglect, and prisons effectively discharge their duty of care towards them. Reported incidents of abuse and neglect are managed appropriately’.

I am urging you to move Kevan out of the CSC and to a safer location immediately in order that HMP Full Sutton adhere to their policy obligations.

Write to Governor Gareth Sands at HMP Full Sutton (gareth.sands@hmps.gsi.gov.uk) or phone the prison on 01759 475100.

Email the Executive Director for High Security & Long Term Estate for HM Prison and Probation Service, Richard Vince demanding Kevan be moved from the CSC to a safer location: Richard.Vince02@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

Email Sir Greg Knight, MP for East Riding: sothcottt@parliament.uk

Keep Kevan updated with all your actions by email through emailaprisoner.com or letter to:

Kevan Thakrar, A4907AE
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS

All out in support of Striking University Staff!

University staff represented by the UCU at 60 universities across the UK are on an 8 day strike starting November 25! Why? Universities have failed to uphold promises about pension contributions and pay, equality, casualisation, and workload.

According to the Universities and Colleges Employers Associations (UCEA), pay has dropped by around 17% in real terms since 2009, even with an overall £2 billion surplus at HEs. On top of this, the disability pay gap remains at 8.7%, the gender pay gap at 15%, and black academic staff earn 12 to 13% less than white colleagues. Over 170,000 staff are also employed through fixed or casual contracts, leading to employment uncertainty.

Conservative union laws have meant that although, overall, more than 75% of UCU union members voted for strike action, only universities that met the 50% participation threshold have been able to call for a strike. This is a perfect example of the political effort expended to suffocate the labour movement in the UK. Thus, it is worth remembering that although not all universities are on strike, all universities are affected by the above statistics.

Corporatisation of Education

This strike needs to be understood in the context of the general trend of ‘corporatising’ universities and education at large. Universities are being increasingly run as a business which means that any and all costs need to be suppressed for the sake of the bottom line. As such, staff have salaries stop rising, recruitment decreases, workload increased, and contact hours with students are slashed. This makes it impossible for universities to meet their social and civic duties of educating the next generation. Students become nothing more than the products on the assembly line of the university factory.

I’m a student, this strike is inconvenient

Strikes are inconvenient for everyone. No one wants to be out on a picket line to demand for their most basic rights, especially during the winter season. If your university is on strike, it’s important to remember that a strike is a last resort and happens only when employers refuse to do the right thing. It’s a university’s unwillingness to treat staff fairly that has led us here.

It’s also important to remember that drops in staff working conditions also means that your quality of education decreases, even though your fees keep going up. We believe that teachers and students deserve the best, and that the way to get that is by fighting together.

How can I support the strike?

If your institution is on strike, do not cross the picket line! Better yet, why not join it and have a few conversations with striking staff to better understand their concerns. Picketers also always enjoy a bit of music and some snacks and warm drinks. If you choose to join the picket line, make sure you follow UCU picket line guidance.

If your university is not on strike, we would encourage you to pick a day and visit the nearest picket line. You can also print out our leaflets supporting the strike (long version / short version) or these ones prepared by the UCU and distribute them on campus. We would also urge you to have conversations with your professors about these strikes and their work conditions as well as ask for your student union to endorse the strike – which the National Union of Students has already done.

The IWW

It goes without saying that the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) are fully behind this and every struggle fought by the working class in the UK and around the world. There is no doubt that education has a central role in our society. The worsening conditions under which our educators work under, from university professors to scientists in research institutions, are symptomatic of the steady onslaught of capitalism which has submitted all activities to the interest of profit.

We believe, as we always have, that it is the historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism. Only then, absent the constant roadblocks set up by capital, can education, and indeed all social services, achieve their mission of empowering workers and advancing science.

With this in mind, we call on our members across all Branches and Industrial Unions to take concrete actions in supporting this strike.

If you are employed by an educational institution, please reach out to the IWW’s Education Workers Union (IU620) on education@iww.org.uk

Download our leaflets in support of the strike:

EU Nationals Pre-Settled/Settled Status

From IWW WISE-RA International Solidarity Department international@iww.org.uk

This is a reminder for all EU national workers in the UK territory.

Fellow Workers,

Considering the last declarations about the possibility to end, without any other legislation in place, the freedom of movement between the EU block and the UK, we need to remind all EU nationals to apply and submit for the pre-settled or settled status. Once the approval is received, it guarantees the continuation of the rights of the EU nationals, such as the right to work and to access the NHS services. It’s possible to apply until December 2020 with the application system put in place in March 2019, but if the current government manages to delete all the EU nationals rights in one night, there will be no other document able to prove the right to work and live in the UK. Especially there will not be any other system in place to use, such as a visa, maybe for months.

The Home Office sent out an email the 15th August stating that 1 million EU citizens were granted the status, if the total number of 3 millions EU nationals is right, this means that there are other 2 million people that need to fill the application or are waiting for the answer.

My concern is that a no deal Brexit will affect the most vulnerable workers in the UK, impacting on people that have more difficulties accessing internet, speaking English or access help points and offices. The application is online at https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families, the app to verify the passports works only on Android phones. If someone doesn’t have access to an android phone, they will need to send the passport by post to one of the Home Office offices.

I think we need to remind our members to apply if they didn’t and to remind it to our colleagues, if there are EU citizens in the working place.

Some of the information circulating on the press at the moment is incorrect, if there are any doubts about the application you can use the Home Office sources or you can contact us.

Message from F.W. Kevan Thakrar

Wednesday 24th April 2019 Kev Thakrar – A4907AE HMP Whitemoor – Seg

On Tuesday 23 April 2019, I was transferred from the Close Supervision Centre (CSC) to the main segregation unit (seg) at HMP Whitemoor. Although I was already being subjected to a solitary confinement regime on the CSC sinc 13/02/19, I could at least access some basic gymnasium equipment which I require to complete remedial work set out by the physiotherapist for injuries sustained in previous assaults by prison officers. I was also able to attend weekly religious corporate worship with two other prisoners, but this legal entitlement will no longer be facilitated. Only days before the move, I had finally reached the top of the waiting list to see the NHS Clinical Psychologist, to begin therapy for my Post-Traumatic Stress acquired the same way as my physical injuries, and had the initial session. Not now being able to enter a room which could in any way be described as a therapeutic environment that too looks unlikely to continue.

Contrary to what Acting CSC Governor of HMP Whitemoor, Martin Butler, had informed me through the local CSC Monthly Review process, when he attended the CSC Management Committee (CSCMC) meeting on 16/04/19, he did not tell them he believed I was ‘suitably placed’. Instead, Butler had concocted a way to manipulate the rest of the CSCMC to agree to move me, which he had been corrupted working on for months through the sustained false reporting regarding myself.

After the last CSCMC and my Letter Before Action was lodged regarding my treatment, regime, CSC status, and lack of identified CSC risks or exit strategy, Butler asked his pal Governor Andy Juden to complete a so-called report which would undermine all of my complaints and paint me out to be the cause of all of the failings on the CSC. He duly obliged; his finished work being some of the most corrupt nonsense I have ever read, where he totally fails to acknowledge the legitimacy of a single complaint, and characterises all of them as somehow being the problem rather than responses to problems.

Butler gleefully delivered quotes from Juden’s work to the CSCMC, enabling the decision to be made. That said, I suspect he will not be entirely satisfied with the result as he is also the Seg Governor here so will now have to deal with the fallout of this. After lockdown on bank holiday Monday 22/4/19 a letter from Butler dated 17/4/19 was slid under my cell door, entitled ‘FEEDBACK FROM CSCMC’. This reads ‘the CSCMC have decided that you will be moved into a designated cell in Whitemoor segregation unit. The reasons for this are that following the report of Gov Juden, We believe that the dynamics of the unit are not conducive to a progressive unit. Namely that staff are compassion fatigued and the findings r.e your complaints “Mr Thakrar submits a significant number of complaints, I can’t establish any external driver and the other residents within this unit do not come close to meeting his levels of complaint. I as a result feel the issues that drive the number of complaints reside with Mr Thakrar, not staff or procedures used to manage him”.

So that was the official line, but having already heard rumors that one of the founding members of the racist extremist prison gang calling themselves Death Before Dishonour (DBD) was due to arrive on the unit and had refused to locate if I was there, I was not surprised when first thing in the morning of the 23rd April, Douglas ‘Gary’ Vinter was moved into a vacant cell. Almost immediately he began shouting abuse out of his cell window, going on to boast that Butler had told him three weeks prior that he would be swapping places with me, him having been in the segregation unit for a cowardly failed racist attack from behind on another prisoner at HMP Full Sutton CSC last year. It seems that Vinter conspired with Butler to enable the move, with the CSCMC being put under pressure to let him out of the segregation unit due to his legal action against the regime and both of them sharing fascist views.

I always knew Butler did not want me to be on the CSC unit here, when attempts to organise the move whilst I was at HMP Long Lartin segregation unit last year were being made, the governor informed me that Butler had vetoed it. I was only able to actually make it onto the CSC unit by being transferred when Butler was on leave and not aware of it. Throughout my time, oppression, provocation, and discrimination I sustained increased and although I was aware of some of the false reporting taking place, when I obtained disclosure of my prison files it was irritating that it had begun from almost the moment I arrived so I never had the chance in getting a positive outcome. The corruption is endemic, the prison system is institutionally racist wholly lacking in integrity and the CSC system being the pinnacle of the sadistic concept.

After all of this, as I sit in this segregation cell touching distance from an on-screen toilet without even a lid, the ridiculous psychologist who has been refusing to meet with me or facilitate any sessions since November, Ieva Cechaviciute, slides a letter under my door. It seems all of her excuses blocking her from working with me have now vanished, and she is ‘renewing 1-to-1 weekly psychology sessions’. The only problem is, due to my Post-Traumatic Stress, I am unable to enter close conditions as she is aware which was part of the reason for my move out of Long Lartin segregation unit. So, she has booked a session for tomorrow, and will repeat this weekly in an act of blatant disability discrimination, in the close visit from renamed ‘the bubble’ to confuse its actual function being known. This coming from someone who was reported to the psychologist regularity body, the Health+Care Professions Council (HCPC) last year, and remains under investigation for her conduct towards me.

This looks likely to be a long-term situation unless the CSCMC can be brought to see the error of their ways. My barrister is currently drafting advice to enable the progress of a judicial review against all of this, but whilst we wait for the audience legal process to re-reward it would be greatly appreciated if those who are able to do what they can to support me. This includes writing to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons at 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4PU, demanding they conduct an urgent full unannounced inspection of the entire CSC system looking intently at my situation and the lack of any risk assessment to base my CSC status upon. Maybe organising another demonstration of publicising this as far as possible to help. The last time I was in this segregation unit 2013-14, it lasted for nine months, and I would much prefer a shorter stint in isolation this time!

Kev Thakrar

Justice for Kevan Thakrar

Justice for Kev facebook page

IWW-UK Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee.

Call to action: protect Kevan from racist violence

Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee UK

IWOC member Kevan Thakrar is urgently in need of support from people outside of prison. Having been held in what amounts to solitary confinement in Close Supervision Centres (‘prisons within prisons’) for the past nine years, Kevan has recently been subject to severe racial abuse from other prisoners at HMP Whitemoor.

These prisoners are members of the ‘Death Before Dishonour’ group, a network dedicated to abuse and violence towards Muslim prisoners, whose members have carried out acts of extreme violence. Kevan has previously written about the ways in which racist abuse is condoned and encouraged in prisons. Journalist and ex-prisoner Eric Allison has also written about the racial abuse Kevan has experienced in the past and the systemic Islamophobia at HMP Frankland.

Please write to prison and Ministry of Justice officials to demand that Kevan is protected from prisoners and officers perpetrating racist abuse and violence, and that he is afforded his basic human rights such as time out of his cell, meaningful human contact in the prison and contact with family and friends.

You can write to:

CM R. Grice
Head of Security
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

Or phone the prison on: 01354 602 350

David Gauke
Secretary of State for Justice
102 Petty France
Westminster
London
SW1H 9AJ

Or contact him at the Ministry of Justice: https://contact-moj.dsd.io/correspondence/topic

Steve Barclay
MP for North East Cambridgeshire
stevebarclay.net/contact

You can also write to Kevan. He may not always be able to reply but really appreciates support and solidarity:

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

Justice for Kevan Thakrar demo at M.O.J. 13th March 2019

On 13th March, the Justice for Kevan Thakrar campaign will demonstrate at the Ministry of Justice to mark the ninth year of Kevan’s solitary confinement in Close Supervision Centres. 

Kevan was first placed in the CSC after suffering an assault by four prison guards in his cell at HMP Frankland in 2010. He defended himself, for which he was charged with attempted murder and GBH. Despite being acquitted of these charges in court, he was sent to a CSC as a punishment and remains in the CSC system to this day, with no indication of when he may leave.

Kevan is regularly held in his cell for 23 hours per day and is prevented from speaking with other prisoners. Numerous studies and papers have pointed out the severe damage solitary confinement can cause for those placed in it. As a 2006 paper in Washington University Journal of Law & Policy put it, it has ‘long been known that severe restriction of environmental and social stimulation has a profoundly deleterious effect on mental functioning’. To quote from a paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, ‘psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture’.

Kevan’s indefinite isolation clearly contravenes the position of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and on these grounds we request his immediate release from the CSC system.

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