Solicitors are urging the Commission for Racial Equality, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) and the Prison Service to take action over allegations of prison officer abuse and racism at Leeds prison, where Shahid Aziz was murdered earlier this year.
The murder of Shahid Aziz at HMP Leeds and subsequent allegations of racism that surfaced at the prison, are being investigated by lawyers from a leading human rights firm, Hickman & Rose.
In a dossier, published today by IRR News, (an amended excerpt of evidence to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman), the lawyers acting for prisoners and ex-prisoners alleging racial discrimination, Daniel Machover and Kate Maynard examine the murder of Shahid and the allegations made by him and twenty other, mainly Black and Minority Ethnic, current or former prisoners at Leeds and the subsequent failure of prison authorities to respond to these allegations.
The firm, Hickman & Rose exposed major failings at HMP Wormwood Scrubs where they investigated allegations of racism and brutality from up to eighty prisoners. Complaints made to them resulted in the police launching an investigation into up 100 prison guards in 1998. As a result: the Prison Service has settled fifty-six cases, sometimes formally submitting to judgment (i.e. effectively admitting liability) and sometimes with no admission of liability; three officers have been jailed for violence against prisoners and twenty-four were cleared or had the cases against them dropped. The Prison Service submitted to judgment in cases brought by at least fourteen prisoners, covering dozens of separate assaults. Three officers were convicted of assault in September 2001, six officers have been dismissed and over £1.3 million paid in damages to date.