Glagow MPs call for inquiry into asylum seeker deaths

Glasgow’s seven MPs have called for a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) to be held into the deaths of three asylum seekers in the city over the past few months.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 7:00 am
Abdul Rahman Safi, 59, sits in front of the Home Office building in Glasgow's Brand Street. Picture: John Devlin
Abdul Rahman Safi, 59, sits in front of the Home Office building in Glasgow's Brand Street. Picture: John Devlin

In a letter to the Lord Advocate, the group suggests an inquiry would address “escalating public concerns” and hope to prevent further tragedies.

Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens, who is the lead signature of the letter, told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme the first case was Adnan Elbi in the Mclays Guest House while another person was found dead in a park.

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The third death came earlier this month when Mercy Baguma, who was originally from Uganda and seeking asylum in the UK, was found dead in the hallway of her Glasgow flat with son Adriel alone in his cot. Mr Stephens said: “I believe that a fatal accident inquiry, which is what was requested, may very well find that the key thread going through it is the challenges of the asylum system and how asylum seekers have been treated during Covid-19.

“Certainly we know that there is no vulnerability assessments being carried out in relation to two of the cases. We know that Mercy was due to move to other accommodation from [the Mears Group] a couple of days before she was phoned.

“Our view is that there is a clear thread and that is how the asylum process and system is treating asylum seekers.

“We’ve seen evidence that the BAME community have suffered most during Covid. We know in some of these circumstances people feel when they’ve been placed in other accommodation that they feel as if they’re going through another detention.

“We certainly feel that the lack of monies been given to asylum seekers is exacerbating poverty and destitution for asylum seekers in Glasgow.”

Mr Stephens said asylum seekers were entitled to just £37 a week, but suggested those in hotel accommodation did not receive any money.

However, this has previously been denied by the Mears Group contractor and the Home Office, which minister Chris Philp said in July would be urgently reviewing concerns over housing asylum seekers in hotels in the wake of the incident at the Park Inn Hotel the previous month.

Badreddin Abadlla Adam from Sudan was shot dead by police after his attack at the West George Street hotel in June that left six people injured including a police constable. The calls come as Abdul Rahman Safi, 59, from Afghanistan, yesterday started a hunger strike in front of the Home Office building on Glasgow’s Brand Street. He has lived in the UK for 12 years.

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