Amid all the furore about foreign ex-prisoners being released rather that deported, it is ironic that four Algerians desperate to leave the UK, are still being held in Long Lartin prison.
We reproduce below two letters from Algerians (held under anti-terror laws) who have volunteered to return to Algeria because of the conditions and uncertainty under which they are held here. They now regard themselves as hostages rather than detainees.
Letter from Hostage I
‘British people and the Muslim community have the right to know what this government is doing in their names.
We have been detained under various barbaric legislation (2001 Act – without charge, without trial and detained indefinitely), (2005 Act – control orders which turned out to be more harsh and more repressive than we previously thought) etc. Now our lives are ruined, our families torn apart with the detention without justification, the abuse of power, injustice, unfairness and bullying are just common and this nightmare is just going on and on.
SIAC [Special Immigration Appeals Commission], for us, is a symbol of all the injustice and unfairness. A commission which did not feel shameful to accept evidence coming from torture, using special advocates. For us it is just a mockery of justice if any. Using secret hearings is just what the dictator countries are doing. It is exactly what should be avoided.
I wonder if the people involved in SIAC go home with their conscience clear and tranquil. I am sure they have a guilty conscience. Fortunately some have already quit it.
The irony now is that this government is seeking our deportation and now that we accept to go, they started another political game. We are four detainees who agree to go back to Algeria but the Home Office is refusing to deport us. We are left seriously confused and we are not calling ourselves detainees anymore but HOSTAGES.
We are asking the British people to help us either to be released or deported or removed to a third country.
I wish that you could do something for us. I want you to raise our voices. We are living in stress and subject to cruelty beyond imagination. There are so many lies, hypocrisy, misleadings and confusion but the people outside seem to know nothing about our ordeal and maltreatment. Our message to the Muslim community is “Where are you?”‘
Letter to David Cameron from Hostage I, Hostage V, Hostage Q and Hostage K
‘This letter is to inform you that we are four detainees who accepted to be deported to Algeria. However, the Home Office is refusing to do so. It is now more than two months that we have withdrawn our appeals before SAIC.
The Algerian Embassy has sent officials to see us here. We confirmed to them our firm decision to go back. They told us – we are ready to issue travel documents as soon as the Home Office resolve your situation.
We are detained under various legislations and now we have had enough. We experience injustice beyond imagination, our families torn apart and our lives ruined and mentally tortured for so long.
Would you please do your best to hep us for a swift solution. We will send you further details if you require them.’