Let’s stop spies and subcontractors from hiding behind the law

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Comment piece for the Guardian about extending the UK Freedom of Information Act to cover Britain’s intelligence agencies and special forces, as well as private contractors.

UK Foreign Office destroyed Sri Lanka files

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Story for the Guardian about Britain’s Foreign Office destroying almost 200 files from the start of the Tamil Tiger uprising, when the SAS and MI5 gave secret counter-insurgency advice. Story was picked up by the Sri Lankan Daily Mirror, Sunday Times, Sunday Leader, Colombo Gazette and Tamil Guardian.

Court hears detainee death only costs £10,000 fine

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The Information Tribunal heard an appeal today by the Home Office against an Information Commissioner decision requiring it to release data regarding failures by commercial contractors at the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook immigration detention centres.

In a freedom of information request, Phil Miller asked the Home Office for internal audits of the two detention centres written by contractors Serco and the Geo Group and detailing the companies’ performance against their multi-million pound contracts.

Some information regarding the level of contractual penalties was released.  Amongst other details, it shows that the Home Office imposes a penalty of just £10,000 for an incident of self-harm resulting in death.

Read more in the Guardian, Corporate Watch and Deighton Pierce Glynn

Death in shackles of elderly man stopped at Gatwick ‘shameful’

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Exclusive: Ombudsman says Home Office detention of Alois Dvorzac, 84, who was suffering dementia and heart disease, was on ‘threshold of inhuman’

The death of an 84-year-old man who died in shackles after being detained at Gatwick airport was a “wholly unacceptable” and “shameful” end to his life, an independent investigation found.

A scathing report by the prisons ombudsman on the death of engineer Alois Dvorzac, who was suffering dementia and stopped on his way from Canada to Slovenia to see his daughter, concluded that his detention by the Home Office was on “the threshold of inhuman and degrading”.

Read the full story in the Guardian