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Immigration removal centre ‘denies torture claims’ | Immigration Matters

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The BBC reports that migrant detainees who claimed they had been tortured were treated dismissively by officers at Dover immigration removal centre, prisons inspectors have said.

Reports by officers at the Kent centre lacked photographs, body maps and judgements on whether scarring matched alleged abuse, inspectors found.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick called on the UK Border Agency to improve its response to such claims.

The UKBA said it had made improvements but there was more work to be done.

Inspectors said officers’ reports were made under Detention Centre Rule 35, which sets out how immigration staff deal with torture claims.

Mr Hardwick said they were poor, often hand-written and difficult to read.

He said: “Cases involving torture described scarring but lacked photographs or body maps.

“There were no judgements on whether scarring was consistent with the alleged method of abuse.

“For example, in a case where the detainee claimed to have been shot, there was no judgement on whether the scars were consistent with gunshot wounds.”

Mr Hardwick said the UKBA’s replies to claims of torture were “dismissive” and none of its replies had led to a detainee’s release.

In one claim, a report by a health care professional described scarring, but the UKBA reply said: “There is no medical evidence to support your contentions.”

The UKBA reply said the detainee had claimed to be beaten, kicked, subjected to a serious sexual assault and left with back pain and injuries. But it continued: “Were it even vaguely credible that you were ill-treated in the manner described, it is considered that you would have raised this at the earliest opportunity.”

Overall, inspectors found the centre had improved since it was last inspected in 2011.

Chief executive of Freedom from Torture, Keith Best, said: “The UKBA has ploughed its energies into speeding up processing of Rule 35 forms but these efforts have come to nought for survivors of torture who remain in detention because case owners dismiss the medical evidence in these reports out of hand.

“The example of the case owner flatly rejecting the possibility that someone would make a late disclosure of torture involving (a sexual assault) is sadly very typical of the cases we see on a regular basis.”

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “Anyone believed to be a victim of torture is only detained in exceptional circumstances and is treated with the utmost sensitivity.

“Inspectors recognised that we have improved the way we deal with Rule 35 reports but there is more work to be done.

“We continue to tighten up the existing procedures and improve training for medical practitioners, caseworkers and staff working in removal centres.” Source: BBC.

The UK Border Agency has recently announced important changes to the way applications from visa overstayers will be treated.

Starting 1 October 2012, if you have overstayed your leave or permission to stay in the UK by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be automatically refused.

New Immigration Rules came into effect for the family migration route from 9 July 2012.

The Home Office announced that from 9 July 2012, if you want to marry a foreigner (non-EEA European Economic Area nationality) and live in the UK together you must earn £18,600. 

The right to appeals against a refusal for a family visit visa will also be abolished.

Immigration Adviser Cynthia Barker of Bison Management said she has seen an ‘upsurge in refusals and visa appeal cases’.

‘Many of the people held in detention centres have pending appeal cases. Whilst it may be unpleasant they realise that they are in a stronger position whilst still in the UK’.

See also: 

Four members of Congo’s Olympic team disappear and five Cameroon boxers want to stay in Britain

Visa overstayers deported from UK following raid on restaurants

New Government funded courses available for Bulgarian and Romanian EU students

Illegal workers arrested at London 2012 Olympics for immigration offences

250 illegal workers and overstayers deported from Midlands region of UK in two months

Visa overstayers will be refused under new UK Immigration Rules

Parliament take emergency action to save immigration system after court says it has been operating illegally since 2008

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund 

You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!

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