Scottish Refugee Council slams detention centre

Scotland is about to open its first detention centre for asylum
seekers, but campaigners claim it will increase the number of
detainees and further threaten their rights, writes Reg

Currently, asylum seekers are detained in mainstream prisons
including Gateside in Greenock and the woman’s prison, Cornton
Vale, in Stirlingshire. But from next month they will be sent to
Dungavel, a former prison in the isolated countryside of
Lanarkshire to be run by the private company Premier Detention

Sofia Marriage, spokesperson for the Scottish Refugee Council,
said: “We oppose the arbitrary detention of asylum seekers in what
legally is only meant to occur in exceptional circumstances.
Dungavel will result in an increase in those so detained.”

Around 60 asylum seekers are detained in Scotland, but Dungavel
is to accommodate 150 men, women and children.

Marriage said: “We are concerned that Dungavel is geographically
isolated and will exacerbate difficulties in asylum seekers
accessing lawyers to fight their case. Many arrive with serious
medical conditions requiring urgent treatment – how will this be
provided? Worse, many will have escaped prisons abroad only to be
dumped again into detention.”

The Scottish Refugee Council is also concerned that it has not
been involved in any planning or consultation over how asylum
seekers detained at Dungavel will be supported. In preparation,
South Lanarkshire Council is to expand its existing detainee
visiting scheme to cope with the extra demand.

Meanwhile, tension continues to run high in Glasgow, where a man
has been charged with the murder of Kurdish asylum seeker Firsat
Dag on August 5 in the Sighthill area of Glasgow.

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