Socialist Worker

Death of 84 year old man is 'tragic indictment' of immigration detention system

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2478

An ill 84 year old man travelling through Britain spent his last weeks being jailed, shackled and humiliated because of “Home Office procedure”, an inquest heard last week.

Canadian citizen Alois Dvorzac was returning to his native Slovenia in 2013, hoping to track down his long lost daughter before he died.

But officials at Gatwick airport weren’t satisfied with his travel plans. They detained him at Harmondsworth detention centre.

Custody officer Vernon Simmonds-Dunne told the inquest that when told he was to be deported to Canada, Dvorzac “looked a bit tearful,” and said, “I don’t have much time. I need to see my family.”

Dvorzac suffered from dementia, heart disease and diabetes. He died after two weeks from a heart attack in Hillingdon hospital.

He was chained and shackled to a custody officer for five hours, until after he had stopped breathing and resuscitation attempts had failed.

The inquest jury found that Dvorzac died of natural causes.

Paramedic Ricardo Ambrosino said nurses were shocked, saying, “Wow, why is he chained, why is he chained?”

He added, “I questioned it as well and I was told it was Home Office procedure. It was unnecessary. He was a frail person. He could barely walk.”

Prisons and probation ombudsman Nigel Newcomen released a report on Dvorzac’s death last Friday.

He said, “It is a tragic indictment of the system that such a frail and vulnerable man should have spent his final days in prison-like conditions.”

Surround Yarl’s Wood detention centre—Shut it down! Protest this Saturday 7 November, 1.30pm, Yarl’s Wood IRC, TwinWoods Business Park, Thurleigh Road, MK44 1FD


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