An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murder of a
young Asian man, who was beaten to death by his racist cellmate in
Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution, has highlighted 20
separate areas of failure in the management systems there,
writes Clare Jerrom.
Zahid Mubarek, aged 19, was murdered in his cell at the YOI in
west London by his cellmate Robert Stewart in March 2000. The
Commission for Racial Equality report highlights 20 separate
failures in Feltham either to identify the racist and violent
nature of Stewart or to protect Mubarek from him.
Mubarek was serving his first sentence of 90 days for theft and
interfering with a motor vehicle.
“The report we publish today (Thursday) is a shocking
catalogue of failure,” said Trevor Phillips chairperson of
the Commission for Racial Equality. “Zahid Mubarek died
because of a combination of Robert Stewart’s racism. and
failures by the prison service to provide him with appropriate
“I am convinced that had Zahid been white, he would not
have died,” he added.
The commission has made a finding of race discrimination
contrary to sections of the Race Relations Act 1976, and it could
serve a Non-Discrimination Notice on the Prison Service if it so
However, the CRE has decided that it will first enter into a
dialogue with the Prison Service to establish an agreed action
programme to overcome the major problems and institutional
weaknesses revealed by the investigation.
Prisons minister Paul Goggins insists the Prison Service has
made “remarkable progress since March 2000 –
particularly in the area of race relations – and today is a
very different organisation”.
Stewart was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in