Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Denise McNeill freed from prison, out on bail

O OUTRO LADO DO MEDO É A LIBERDADE (The Other ...Image by jonycunha via Flickr
The asylum seeker Denise McNeill was today given bail after nearly a year's detention in Holloway Prison, according to No One Is Illegal.

McNeill led a hunger strike last year in protests at conditions at Yarl's Wood detention centre, which was allegedly violently broken up by guards. She has been held at Holloway Prison since.
"I think they moved me from Yarl's Wood to cover up what they'd done: to stop my ability to talk out," she has said.
Source: NCADC

Yesterday, one of the Yarl’s Wood 3, Denise McNeil, was granted bail at an immigration court in Hatton Cross. Her supporters in the courtroom clapped as the judge made his decision.

Denise was released from Holloway prison this evening. She said
‘After 28 months, 1 week and 5 days I am finally reunited with my family and supporters. We’re going to keep campaigning for Sheree and Aminata and all the people in Yarl’s Wood until it’s closed’
In February 2010, refugees and migrants held at the Yarl’s Wood immigration prison organised a hunger strike, demanding an end to indefinite imprisonment and abuse. Their courageous protest lasted five weeks, despite violent attacks by Serco’s private security guards, who manage the detention centre. Their action was ‘for everyone in detention.’

Over 70 women of colour participated in the hunger strike which forced the authorities to release many of them. In retribution, several people involved in the hunger strike were singled out and moved to prisons. The effect of this is also to intimidate other detainees from speaking out about their experience of the immigration system.

After Denise was released today two women targeted in this way are still behind bars: Sheree Wilson and Aminata Camara. They are being held without charge and a court order. They have been away from their families, friends and communities for far too long. Today supporters said that the campaign to free them would continue.
‘We are delighted that Denise has been released from prison today’ one of her supporters said. ‘We will continue to fight for Sheree and Aminata to be granted bail and for Denise to stay in Britain with her children. When they try to silence people by putting them in prison we will fight back’
Supporters packed the court today to show solidarity with Denise. A letter from Denise’s youngest son was also given to the Judge. Denise said ‘Tre’s letter touched the heart of the Judge’. Several groups were represented including No One is Illegal, No Borders, Crossroads Women’s Centre, Communities of Resistance, Stop Deportation Network and members of the RMT.
1. For more information, contact George Lavender 07783322752 or email freedenisenow@gmail.com
2. On New Year’s Eve, friends, family and supporters of the Yarl’s Wood 3 came together outside Holloway Prison for a noisy demonstration of solidarity. Messages of support came from organisations and individuals in Britain, and around the world. In Sweden, a giant banner was hung in central Malmo, calling for ‘ Asylum for all in 2011′. indymedia
3. A Facebook page for the campaign has been created
4. Nick Clegg was widely criticized for ‘rebranding detention’
5. For more information about Denise McNeil’s campaign, visit her NCADC campaign page
6. Asylum seekers win new strength to fight after Yarl’s Wood hunger strike’
Twitter feed: @freedenisenow

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