A Muslim prisoner is being punished for ‘resisting racism and Islamophobia in HMP Long Lartin’

A protest outside HMP Frankland
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Campaigners have raised concerns about a Muslim prisoner, who they say is being punished for speaking out against racism by prison officers.

In September, The Canary reported that Miran Thakrar was given a “nicking” (a prison disciplinary procedure) at HMP Long Lartin after carrying out the Muslim call to prayer. Community Action on Prison Expansion wrote at the time:

Muslim prisoners were interrupted during the call to prayer by officers banging on the door saying they were enforcing noise pollution rules.

A non-Muslim officer told [a prisoner named] Miran, “you don’t have to do call to prayer, you only do that at the mosque”.

When Miran told the officer not to explain his religion to him, the Officer gave him a nicking [a prison disciplinary procedure] for threatening abusive language/ behaviour.

The Canary has seen several complaints made by Miran accusing officers at Long Lartin of racist behaviour.

‘Retribution’ for speaking out

Miran has since been moved to another prison – HMP Frankland – and placed in its Segregation Unit, which campaigners say is a punishment for speaking out against officers at Long Lartin.

Read on...

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Campaign group Anti-Carceral Solidarity says that Miran is in danger at HMP Frankland, because he has experienced racist abuse at the prison when he was there in the past.

According to Anti-Carceral Solidarity:

As retribution for resisting racism and Islamophobia in HMP Long Lartin, Miran Thakrar has been transferred to the segregation unit in Hmp Frankland.

This has directly put his life in danger.

Threats to Miran and his family have been made by both prisoners and staff at [HMP] Frankland.

When Miran was last located in HMP Frankland in 2010, he was abused in the segregation. Officers destroyed his food, starving him.

The group’s statement continues:

Officers not only allow racist abuse to continue on their watch but encourage it.

Campaigners are calling for people to write letters demanding that Miran is moved out of HMP Frankland immediately.

Anti-Carceral Solidarity claims that Miran is being held indefinitely in solitary confinement at Frankland, because the prison has assessed that it would not be safe for him to be held in the prison’s wing. According to the group:

Even the prison assessed he would be unsafe on the wing. He is therefore being kept in solitary confinement until he is transferred.

Miran is being tortured indefinitely as a result.

The Canary contacted the Ministry of Justice for comment but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

End segregation

According to the Campaign to end Solitary Confinement:

Solitary confinement is routinely used in UK prisons to impose discipline across all categories of closed prison (A, B and C). Segregation is often used as a punishment and sometimes justified as a form of protection. Most prisons have a segregation unit. Regimes inside of segregation units are “characterised by social isolation and restricted sensory input”. They are designed to restrict a person’s interpersonal interactions. People imprisoned in a segregation unit occupy a single cell. These units have far fewer people imprisoned in them, and have more staff per person. People in a segregation unit have allocated ‘exercise’ time, if there are the staff available to facilitate this. A segregation unit can only unlock 1-2 people at one time. ‘Exercise’ is facilitated in small cages outside where you can walk around in a confined space on your own.

In 2015, a ruling from UK’s Supreme Court found that:

The use of segregation in prisons should always be considered as a serious measure. Indeed, the Council of Europe’s Committee on the Prevention of Torture advises that for punitive purposes any stint should be limited to 14 days

However, prisoners are routinely held in excess of 14 days. A 2021 Justice Inspectorates report found that “Prisoners were held in segregation for too long” at Long Lartin.

In 2016, an employee of HM Inspectorate of Prisons wrote this about Segregation Units in UK Prisons:

too often we found exercise yards that were cage-like or provided no view of the outside that was not filtered through fences or razor wire. Access to exercise, showers and phones was often inconsistent and in one instance only provided three times a week.

Segregation “used as a weapon against the vulnerable”

According to long term prisoner Kevan Thakrar – who is Miran’s brother:

[segregation] is used as a weapon against the vulnerable, marginalised and all too often the minorities.

Kevan calls for an end to prison segregation units and Close Supervision Centres (CSCs) – CSCs are the most severe form of isolation that exists in the UK prison system. He concluded:

With segregation being almost unheard of in the female prison estate it has been shown to not be required. A total abolition of the CSC solitary confinement and segregation units is the only way to end this insidious destruction of human minds and lives.

Featured image via Anti-Carceral Solidarity (with permission)

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  • Show Comments
    1. Everyone has the moral right to be free of the fear of being verbally — let alone physically — attacked because of his/her color, culture or creed. Still, some people will always find an excuse to despise and abuse others simply for being different.

      This was evident when, for example, a non-white man wearing a red “Keep America Great” cap (with “45” on the side) called a nine-year-old girl wearing a hijab a “f—–g Muslim terrorist” at a grocery store near my home in Metro Vancouver (Canada), earlier this year. The girl’s father rightly confronted the man and repeatedly called him a racist. (One can imagine the shameful pleasure felt and rampant media postings left by white supremacists upon learning the accused racist was not Caucasian.) As far as terrorism goes, the girl’s family is far more likely to be fleeing extremist violence abroad than planning to perpetrate it elsewhere. But that ironic fact may not matter, anyway; ‘their kind’ are still not welcome. …

      I occasionally muse that what humankind may need to suffer in order to survive the long term from ourselves is an even greater nemesis (a figurative multi-tentacled extraterrestrial, perhaps?) than our own politics and perceptions of differences, against which we could all unite, attack and defeat. During this needed human allegiance, we’d be forced to work closely side-by-side together and witness just how humanly similar we are to each other.

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