Thursday, 26 November 2009

Eid means celebration - but not for some

I was glad today to be able to ask a supplementary question at First Minister's Questions and again raise my concerns about Florence and Precious Mhango, currently in Yarls Wood having been saved from deportation at the last minute. However half an hour before I was due to ask it I got a call from a social worker in Glasgow to tell me that ANOTHER family have been taken to Dungavel.

It would break your heart. A family of 5 children aged from 3 to 12, taken by suprise after school yesterday. Carted off to Dungavel Prison (for that is how it looks and feels) 2 days before a hugely important religious festival. The family are Muslims from Pakistan and tomorrow is Eid Al Adha, supposed to be a time of great celebration, kind of like Christmas for Christians.

I don't know the details of this case because I've not been working with the family. But I do know how intrinsically wrong it is for little children to be locked up in places like Dungavel. And I am shocked at the crass insensitivity of the timing. Tonight, instead of lying awake because they're so excited about Eid tomorrow, they'll be unable to sleep because they are so dreading the journey to Yarls Wood, a place that little Precious described as "a place of darkness". This wee frightened family are soon to find out for themselves.

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