Flowers laid after migrant death at airport holding centre

Article published: Friday, August 9th 2013

Flowers have been laid after a man from Pakistan died at Pennine House short term holding facility at Manchester Airport.

Tahir Mehmood tributeTahir Mehmood, 43, had been detained at the centre after overstaying his visa and was reported dead on Friday 26 July after a medical incident understood to be related to heart trouble. A post mortem has not yet fully established the cause of death.

Relatives say Mehmood, a Punjabi speaker who did not speak English, had been at the centre for five days and was looking forward to returning to his wife and two children in Pakistan.

Family members at a floral vigil called for by well wishers and migration campaigners on the evening of Monday 5 August criticised media reports which had identified Mehmood as resisting return to Pakistan for fear of his life.

Mehmood’s sisters-in-law also said he had not reported mistreatment at Pennine House to them, but had difficulty communicating due to a lack of translators.

In the past two years two other men from Pakistan have also died while detained, with an inquest finding in May 2012 that neglect had contributed to the heart related death of Muhammed Sakhat at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre.

Pennine House, a 32-bed centre operated by Tascor, was inspected in 2011 by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and judged to have a “24 hour health team” and “on-site health services staff”.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson said, “A 43-year-old man from Pakistan died in Pennine House short term holding facility and his death has been reported to the police and the coroner.

“The family of the deceased have been informed and our thoughts are with them following this sad news.”

Mehmood is the eight person to die in immigration detention since 2010, and the first to die at a short term holding facility. It is understood that a coroner’s inquest will take place in the next four to six months.

Richard Goulding

More: Migration and asylum, News, Policing


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