Socialist Worker

Shocking failures led to racist murder

Issue No. 1860

A 'SHOCKING catalogue of failure' led to the murder of a 19 year old Asian man bludgeoned to death by the racist sharing his prison cell. This is how a third report by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) describes the events leading up to the brutal murder of Zahid Mubarek. In March 2000 Zahid was placed in the same cell as racist skinhead Robert Stewart, also 19, in Feltham Young Offenders Institution.

Zahid was serving a 90-day sentence for a minor theft offence and was beaten to death with a table leg the day before his release. The report details 22 areas of failure, yet did not find Zahid was deliberately placed with a violent racist. This means prosecutions against individuals involved can't go ahead.

Although Stewart was a racist with a violent history his security file was not read and he was not interviewed by a doctor or psychiatrist. His letters to friends and family poured out racist thoughts and murderous intentions, but prison staff either never read them or ignored them. Feltham was found guilty of institutionalised racism 18 months ago. But it is not only Feltham where prisoners are in danger.

A second part of the CRE report, which will look into racism in other prisons, is now due.

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Sat 19 Jul 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1860
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