A fortnightly resource for anti-racist and social justice campaigns, highlighting key events in the UK and Europe.
Policing and criminal justice
11 February: The family of a man whose neck was found to be broken after he was arrested by police call for the officers involved to be suspended. Julian Cole, 21, was left in a vegetative state following his arrest outside a nightclub in Bedford in May 2013. (Guardian, 11 February 2015)
11 February: INQUEST publishes a report, Deaths in Mental Health Detention: An investigation framework fit for purpose? Download the report here.
13 February: The Metropolitan police is warned it risks breaching the European Convention on Human Rights by refusing to police a second planned protest in central London next month. (Enfield Guardian, 13 February 2015)
14 February: Johsua Bonehill-Paine, who has recently called for an anti-Semitic rally in Stamford Hill, is banned from the whole of London after being arrested in connection with a string of anti-Semitic messages sent to an MP. (East London Times, 15 February 2015)
16 February: It is revealed that six police officers and seven police staff will face disciplinary proceedings in relation to Bijan Ebrahimi’s death in 2013. Bijan Ebrahimi was murdered in Bristol after being harassed and victimised. (Bristol Post, 16 February 2015)
13 February: A former commissioner for the Commission for Racial Equality, Mohammed Amran, vows to fight on after the IPCC finds that West Yorkshire police did not seek to undermine his credibility as a witness during the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. The police had suggested ‘discreet inquiries’ were conducted into his background. (Telegraph & Argus, 13 February 2015)
18 February: The Chief Inspector of Prisons calls for a review of the lessons learned from the opening of the G4S-run Oakwood prison before any more ‘supersized’ jails are opened. (Guardian, 18 February 2015)
20 February: Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) publishes its latest Newsletter. Download the January/February issue here (pdf file, 2.1mb).
20 February: The High Court rules that the Lord Chancellor’s guidance on legal aid for inquests contains material errors and the threshold is set too high. (Bindman’s, 20 February 2015)
22 February: An IPCC spokesman says that an investigation into the death of Adrian McDonald, who died after being Tasered by the police in Huddersfield in 2014, is still some way off completion. (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 22 February 2015)
24 February: The Equality and Human Rights Commission publishes new research, Preventing Deaths in Detention of Adults with Mental Health Conditions. Download the reports here.
24 February: Channel 4 News reports on the death of a vulnerable teenager, 15 -year-old Alex Kelly who took his own life in Cookham Wood young offenders Institution, and a coroner’s report which is highly critical of the care he received. (Channel 4 News, 23 February 2015)
24 February: Bedfordshire police announces that flowers left in tribute to Leon Briggs, who died in Luton police custody, are to be removed from Luton police station station as they pose a ‘security risk’. (Luton on Sunday, 24 February 2015)
25 February: The Court of Appeal quashes the convictions of two men who were convicted under the doctrine of joint enterpise. (JENGbA press release, 25 February 2015)
25 February: The inquest into the death of Chang Somers (aka Valan Anthony Pitts) hears that his body was found months after he went missing after requests from family and friends that he be sectioned. Police are also being investigated for how they dealt with missing person reports from his family (Plymouth Herald, 24 February 2015)
26 February: Bish Sharif, a 42 year old Asian man, expresses his anger after being dragged from a cafe in Redcar and wrongly detained under anti-terrorism powers for thirty minutes by Cleveland Police. (Northern Echo, 26 February 2015)
11 February: The British National Party is set to lose the right to an election broadcast as it cannot find enough parliamentary candidates, HOPE not Hate claims. (Mirror, 11 February 2015)
16 February: At a rally in Dresden attended by 4,000 people, Pegida announce its attention to field a candidate in the next mayoral election. (The Local, 17 February 2015).
18 February: In Newcastle, around twenty members of the EDL disrupt a meeting planning a march against German group Pegida on 28 February and reportedly shout that anti-fascist women ‘should be sterilised’ as they are made to leave. (North East Chronicle, 18 February 2015)
23 February: It is revealed that a significant proportion of the 6,500 complaints made about a controversial film imagining the early days of a Ukip government were the result of an orchestrated campaign by Britain First. (Guardian, 23 February 2015)
Asylum and immigration
10-17 February: The deaths of three migrants in immigration detention centres or prisons in Greece are reported. On 10 February, Sayed Mehdi Akbari, an Afghan migrant held in the Amygdaleza detention centre, died in hospital after falling suddenly ill; on 13 February, Muhammad Nadim, a Pakistani migrant, committed suicide in the Amydaleza detention centre; and, on 14 February, a Yemeni man committed suicide in the Aliens Directorate of Thessaloniki. After visiting Amygdaleza on 13 February, the Deputy Interior Minister Yannis Panousis pledged to shut the centre down. (Asylum Information Database, 19 February 2015)
17 February: An award of £224 million compensation to a Home Office contractor, Raytheon Systems Ltd, over the cancellation of the e-Borders contract, is set aside after a court rules that it was ‘tainted by serious irregularity’. (Guardian, 17 February 2015)
17 February: In medieval England one person in every hundred was an immigrant, new research by the universities of York and Sheffield shows. (BBC News, 17 February 2015)
18 February: The funeral of a five-year-old girl, Andrea Gada, who died after she was hit by a car, takes place following delays caused by the Home Office refusing to grant visas to her Zimbabwean relatives. (BBC News, 18 February 2015)
19 February: Councillors agree to defer the potential expansion of Campfield House immigration removal centre, which would more than double the number of detainees it could hold, after a last minute recommendation from planning officers. (Oxford Mail, 19 February 2015)
21 February: It is reported that the Afghanistani minister for refugees and repatriation has called on European countries to halt deportations to Afghanistan, particularly of women and children. (Kabul Blogs, 21 February 2015)
23 February: A couple in Northern Ireland, wrongly arrested and accused of holding a ‘sham marriage’ moments before their wedding ceremony in 2010, are awarded more than £21,000 in compensation. (BBC News, 23 February 2015)
25 February: A Bangladeshi asylum seeker who shared his story with the Glasgow Evening Times finds out he is now facing deportation, and the manager of a night shelter where he has been staying accuses the authorities of targeting anyone for speaking out. (Glasgow Evening Times, 23 February 2015)
25 February: It is announced that the proportion of female staff at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre will rise from 40 per cent to 60 per cent following reports that male staff have harassed female detainees. (BBC News, 25 February 2015)
24 February: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills publishes BIS Research Paper No. 217: The impacts of migrant workers on UK businesses. Download it here.
15 February: It is reported that landlords are preparing to turn away prospective tenants because they have a ‘foreign’ accent, as a consequence of new rules making it an offence to let rooms to undocumented migrants. (Independent, 15 February 2015)
Violence and harassment
29 January: Richard Harris, 38, is given a five-year prison sentence for a racially motivated attack on an Asian man in Blackwood, Wales, the day after Lee Rigby’s funeral. Harris, a member of a ‘white pride’ group, almost severed the man’s ear during the attack. (Wales Online, 29 January 2015)
14 February: Dan Uza, a Jewish man guarding a bat mitzvah party at the main synagogue on Krystalgade Copenhagen is gunned down by Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. Hussein had just carried out a gun attack on a cultural centre where the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was discussing Islam and free speech, killing the film director Finn Nørgaard in that attack. (Independent, 15 February 2015)
20 February: A woman’s hair is allegedly set on fire in a racist attack, ‘simply because she is not white’, according to a friend who witnessed what happened, at a McDonald’s restaurant in Kent. (Independent, 22 February 2015)
23 February: Richard Barklie, 50, a director of an international human rights organisation and a former Royal Ulster Constabulary officer, admits he was present when a black French man was prevented from entering a train on the Paris underground amid racist chanting by Chelsea football fans earlier in the month, but denies that he was involved. (Independent, 23 January 2015)
25 February: Four white teenagers in Liverpool are sentenced for a cumulative total of nearly twenty-five years for a racist attack in May last year. The teenagers beat a black family with a baseball bat, a stick and pieces of wood with nails protruding out in the attack, which left one family member with a nail embedded in his head. (Liverpool Echo, 25 February 2015)
25 February: Liam Perkins, a 21-year old man from Redditch, is jailed for two-and-a-half-years following a racially motivated attack on a taxi driver and for punching another man with a knuckle duster. (Redditch & Alcester Advertiser, 25 February 2015)
26 February: Gary Leid pleads guilty to the racially motivated attack and stabbing of Jie Yu at a restaurant in Edinburgh last October. Leid’s brother was also previously jailed for killing a Chinese takeaway driver. (Herald Scotland, 26 February 2015)
18 February: A last-ditch challenge to the lord chancellor’s legal aid reforms is thrown out by the High Court. The president of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association describes the decision as ‘worrying’, saying it ‘offers the ideologically driven desire to cut publicly funded criminal legal aid a veneer of respectability’. (Law Society Gazette, 18 February 2015)
21 February: The government is accused by campaigners of prioritising looking tough on immigration above preventing the abuse of foreign workers, prior to a House of Lords debate on the the modern slavery bill. (Guardian, 21 February 2015)
23 February: Human rights activists and lawyers gather in London with an effigy of Chris Grayling and protest against the government backed Global Law summit, highlighting the legal aid cuts and saying the summit is ‘hijacking’ the anniversary of the Magna Carta. (Guardian, 23 February 2015)
23 February: After announcing plans to make immigrants have health insurance for their first five years in Britain as part of Ukip’s health policy, Nigel Farage says this would not lead to ill people being denied treatment as it excludes ‘genuine refugees’. (Guardian, 23 February 2015)
24 February: Members of Cardiff City’s board boycotts a Championship game with Wigan in protest at what they allege is a ‘club owned and managed by racists’. (BBC News, 24 February 2015)