14 April 2021: The Guardian: Priti Patel’s detention policies found to breach human rights rules
Court finds home secretary accountable for failures to ensure that deaths in immigration detention centres are investigated properly
A landmark court ruling has held the home secretary, Priti Patel, accountable for failures in ensuring that deaths in immigration detention centres are properly investigated.
Two judges in the immigration court ruled on Wednesday that three of the home secretary’s detention policies breached human rights rules and that she could not frustrate or undermine inquiries into these deaths.
The ruling relates to two friends, Ahmed Lawal and Oscar Lucky Okwurime, both from Nigeria, who were in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre when Okwurime was found dead in his cell there on 12 September 2019.
Lawal proved to be a key witness, but the Home Office tried to deport him five days after the death before he could provide any evidence. He took the case to the high court and a judge halted his removal.
Priti Patel undermined and frustrated an investigation of a death at an immigration detention centre, a court has ruled in a landmark decision.
An immigration judge said yesterday that the home secretary was under “a legal requirement to assist the coronial inquest by identifying and securing evidence from potential witnesses” in the case of deaths in detention.