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!
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
Or phone the prison on: 01354 602 350
Secretary of State for Justice
102 Petty France
Or contact him at the Ministry of Justice: https://contact-moj.dsd.io/correspondence/topic
MP for North East Cambridgeshire
You can also write to Kevan. He may not always be able to reply but really appreciates support and solidarity:
Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
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.
We received a rather strange reply from Z Legge, Acting Business Manager to the Executive Director of the Long Term and High security Prisons Group, in response to our e-mail protesting the ill-treatment of our Fellow Worker Kevan Thakrar. We’d like to share it with you. Our original message is reproduced below.
Dear Richard Vince,
We object in the strongest possible terms to the systematic and persistent ill-treatment of our I.W.W. member Fellow Worker Kevan Thakrar. Whilst we appreciate you are not personally responsible for the miscarriage of justice that led to Kev’s incarceration, you have a duty to assure his physical and mental safety whilst in your care.It has been demonstrated empirically that the C.S.C. regime leads to severe psychological and physical damage. In addition Kev has been beaten, starved, sexually and racially abused, and had false allegations made against him by staff. Such treatment is classed as torture and forbidden by international law. You are deliberately exacerbating his Post traumatic stress disorder, contracted as a result of his abuse at HMP Frankland, which is a protected characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010. A psychiatric report states that he should have been returned to normal location after five years.
It is to F.W. Kev’s great credit that he has maintained his dignity and personal integrity under these circumstances. In contrast, your continued failure to address them amounts to dereliction of duty.
We demand that you stop moving F.W. Kev unnecessarily that you fit staff with body cameras so their conduct can be independently monitored that you grant his requests to see the governor and the diversity officer you take steps to return him to normal prison conditions that our Fellow Worker be free to make such external communications as will expedite his case and finally establish his innocence.
For the One Big Union
Dear TUC comrades
I am writing to you on behalf of my friend and fellow IWW member Kevan Thakrar, a miscarriage of justice prisoner who is being subjected to ill-treatment amounting to torture, both mental and physical, in the UK.
He has spent ten years in prison and eight in solitary confinement held in the close supervision centres (CSC) , for a crime he did not commit, based on hearsay evidence from police in Northern Cyprus.
There is not a shred of physical evidence to place Kev at the scene, and he did not match the witness description, in addition he had an alibi.
A witness who was with Kev at the time of the incident in Enfield, Middlesex was threatened by police that he would serve 10 years imprisonment if he told the truth about Kev’s location. He was charged with assisting an offender and made to appear before Stevenage Magistates Court on July 9, where he was remanded in custody. This was during Kev’s trial with the arrest used as a tool of intimidation to scare the alibi out of giving evidence.
Kev has been beaten, starved, moved around incessantly, put in a blood-spattered cell, sexually and racially abused. In recent weeks the pressure has been increased on him in a calculated attempt to destroy his mental health. Kev is very strong, but there are limits to how far anyone can endure such treatment.
The worst thing about this is that Trade Union members, of the British prison officers association are complicit in this abuse, this is affiliated to the TUC and to international bodies.
This is a matter of life and death, and I believe only the censure of fellow Trades Unionists can put a stop to it.