Kevan Thakrar – 8 years in solitary confinement! Send season’s greeting and Write to your MP

From Payday Men’s Network working with the Global Women’s Strike

Emergency Alert!
Kevan Thakrar in Solitary Confinement
for 8 years in the UK
Please send him a holiday card and
write to your MP!

 
Dear friends,

Kevan Thakrar has been in solitary confinement in UK prisons for more than eight years. The UN has called for “an absolute prohibition” on solitary confinement over 15 days, while Amnesty International calls it “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”. But can you imagine being in solitary over the holidays? Please help us break his isolation.

Mr Thakrar was first put in solitary confinement after he was exonerated in relation to a charge of assaulting prison officers. As a man of colour, he has been a consistent target for racism by staff.

We are campaigning to have Mr Thakrar released into general population immediately and need your help. Please write to your MP.  Below  you will find a template letter which has more details about Mr Thakrar’s situation which you can adapt as you choose and forward to your MP.  You can find the email address of your MP here.

Please also consider writing to Kevan and telling him what you are doing about his case.  His address is:

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Rd, Whitemoor PE15 0PR

Or email him using www.emailaprisoner.com

Check out http://justiceforkevan.org/

Please let us know that you have taken action by cc’ing us at payday@paydaynet.org

Yours,

Niki Adams, Legal Action for Women

Sam Weinstein, Payday

 

Refusing to kill or be killed

Template MP Letter in Support of Kevan Thakrar

Dear xxx MP:

As one of your constituents, I am asking for you to please intervene in the case of Kevan Thakrar prisoner (A4907AE) who has been held in solitary confinement (in a Close Supervision Centre – (CSC)) for more than eight years.

Until July 2018 he was being held in HMP Long Lartin where he was confined to his cell for more than 23 hours a day. His cell was filthy, stank and was infested with insects. As a result of protests and intervention by a member of parliament, he was moved to a “small-group isolation wing” in HMP Whitemoor and had more access to various facilities. However, shortly afterwards, giving a spurious reason that he was “not engaging with staff”, the prison moved him back onto a restrictive regime, confined to his cell for 23 hours a day.

Mr Thakrar was first put in solitary confinement over eight years ago after he was exonerated in relation to a charge of assaulting prison officers. It came out in court that Mr Thakrar had acted in self defence after himself being attacked by guards and being “physically and sexually abused by staff” — some of which “regarded all non-white prisoners as Muslims and subjected them to constant anti-Muslim abuse”.

Recent evidence of racism within the prison system also raises concerns that Mr Thakrar may be being targeted because he is a man of colour.

[IF YOU WANT, PLEASE ADD SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY YOU ARE CONCERNED]

The isolation that Mr Thakrar is subjected to is in breach of International law for the treatment of prisoners. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture called for “an absolute prohibition” of “indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days”. Amnesty International condemned CSC (known as Special Security Units at the time) saying that the lack of adequate exercise, sport, educational and work facilities, natural daylight and long-distance vision and adequate medical treatment, “constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

As far as I understand, the only justification for keeping someone in isolation is that they are a danger to others. But Mr Thakrar has not been convicted of any violent incidents during the 11 years he has been imprisoned. In 2014, a detailed psychological assessment concluded that his risk levels are so low that there is no reason for him to remain in the CSC. Mr Thakrar points to evidence that he is being discriminated against — other prisoners who have been convicted of violence, including attacks which resulted in the death of fellow inmates, remain in general population.

There is also evidence which indicates that Mr Thakrar’s original conviction, based as it was on the discredited theory of Joint Enterprise and unreliable identification and hearsay evidence, was a miscarriage of justice. For more information on the case please go to: http://justiceforkevan.org/.

Can you please represent me on this matter and ask the minister responsible for an explanation, and investigate in other ways why Mr Thakrar has been in solitary for so many years. If the prison authorities claim to have good reasons for refusing to release Mr Thakrar into general population then that decision must be publicised so that it can be subjected to public scrutiny,

I feel strongly that we must insist on a high standard of care and accountability from those that have responsibility for prisoners. The treatment of Mr Thakrar has been appalling and the issue must be immediately remedied.

Yours sincerely,

Cc: payday@paydaynet.org

Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Rory Stewart, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) rory.stewart.mp@parliament.uk

Richard Burgon, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, richard@richardburgon.com

France: Mothers denounce police brutality

 

Since 17 November, there’s been widespread street protests and road blocks all over France by the ‘gilets jaunes’ (named after the hi-vis yellow vests they wear). They were sparked off by an increase in the tax on petrol while the rich had had a tax cut. The movement has grown and broadened its demands and now includes many more sectors – school students, ambulance workers, campaigners against police murders and racism, etc.
Police repression has been ferocious, especially against secondary education kids who blockaded their schools. In one school alone (Mantes la Jolie, near Paris) over 150 students were arrested and forced by armed police to kneel down against a wall with their hands tied behind their backs. This received general condemnation, especially from parents horrified by how they children were treated.

The “Mothers Front”, a parents trade union, issued a statement on 8 December denouncing police racism and brutality and their invasive presence in schools. They are planning various actions in defence of children and their right to organise.

Arrests of students, Mantes-la-Jolie, 6 Dec. 2018


FRANCE: FRONT DES MERES
syndicat de parents  MOTHERS FRONT parents trade union
Nous avons créé le Front de Mères, premier syndicat de parents des quartiers populaires. Nous l’avons crée parce que nous aimons nos enfants, parce que nous voulons mettre hors d’état de nuire le système raciste qui les détruit, parce que nous voulons leur transmettre tout ce qui pourra les rendre plus forts, à commencer par notre dignité, parce que nous voulons les éduquer à travers des valeurs d’égalité, de justice et de bienveillance, et parce que nous savons que sans lutte politique et collective, ce combat-là est vain. Notre projet s’inscrit dans une démarche d’éducation populaire, nous travaillons sur des projets concrets et locaux, sur du long terme, dans une perspective positive et constructive, et sur tout ce qui concerne l’éducation de nos enfants.

We created the Mothers Front, the first trade union of parents in working-class neighbourhoods. We created it because we love our children, because we want to stop the racist system which destroys them, because we want to pass on to them everything that can make them stronger starting with our dignity, because we want to educate them with values of equality, justice and kindness, and because we know that without political and collective struggle, this fight is futile. Our project is part of a process of popular education, we work with a positive and constructive perspective on concrete local projects, as well as long term, and on all that concerns the education of our children.

https://blogs.mediapart.fr/front-de-meres/blog/081218/les-meres-avec-les-lyceens-reprimes-par-la-police-ne-touchez-pas-nos-enfants

Les mères avec les lycéens réprimés par la police: ne touchez pas à nos enfants!

·        8 déc. 2018  Par Front de Mères

·        Blog : Le blog de Front de Mères

C’est en tant que mamans unies et déterminées que nous nous adressons à l’État : ça suffit, nous vous interdisons d’humilier, de mutiler et de détruire nos mômes ! Nous ne laisserons pas faire ! Nous protégerons nos enfants par tous les moyens nécessaires, parce que nous les aimons, que c’est notre avenir, et parce que c’est notre devoir de parents !

Depuis plusieurs jours, nos enfants lycéens et lycéennes subissent une infâme répression policière digne d’une dictature.

La guerre est déclarée à nos enfants à Ivry, Mantes-la-jolie, Garges, Paris, Orléans, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Marseille et partout en France.

Nos assistons à des scènes où nos enfants sont humiliés, placés dans des positions dégradantes, rappelant les pratiques coloniales.

Nous entendons la police les menacer avec des insultes racistes et homophobes. Nos enfants sont illégalement placés et maintenus en garde à vue. Nous voyons, horrifiées, la police les mutiler à coups de flashballs, plusieurs d’entre eux ont perdu une main, ont le visage cassé, la mâchoire détruite. Quelle hypocrisie de la part d’un gouvernement qui dans le même temps veut interdire aux parents la fessée !

Nous ne sommes pas dupes concernant les objectifs de cette répression féroce : nous savons qu’il s’agit de défigurer la jeunesse de ce pays et de la terroriser pour éviter qu’elle vienne donner de la force au mouvement massif de contestation sociale, notamment autour des gilets jaunes. Nous savons que la garde à vue est utilisée comme arme de dissuasion pour empêcher les jeunes d’utiliser leurs droits les plus fondamentaux de s’exprimer et de manifester.

Nous ne sommes pas dupes, nous savons que cette répression s’inscrit dans le prolongement de l’Etat Macron qui veut expérimenter la présence policière au sein des établissements, qui nomme des gendarmes comme proviseurs adjoints, qui forme les chefs d’établissement aux techniques militaires.

Nous ne sommes pas dupes également du fait que le système d’oppression raciste ne traite pas nos enfants de la même manière selon leur classe et leur couleur de peau. Si tous les lycéen.nes qui manifestent aujourd’hui sont ciblés, nous savons que le pouvoir traite différemment les jeunes noirs et arabes, et les jeunes blancs des classes moyennes. Aux jeunes noirs et arabes habitant les quartiers populaires, et depuis des décennies, on dénie jusqu’à leur humanité. Ils ne sont même pas considérés comme des enfants, mais comme des délinquants. Nous savons aussi que ce système cherche par là à nous diviser. Mais aujourd’hui, nous ne sommes pas divisées ! Aujourd’hui, nous sommes solidaires. Car liées par le même sentiment d’amour pour nos enfants, liées également par le même sentiment d’inquiétude et d’angoisse pour eux.

Et c’est en tant que mamans unies et déterminées que nous nous adressons à l’État : ça suffit, nous vous interdisons d’humilier, de mutiler et de détruire nos mômes ! Arrêtez de maltraiter et de sexualiser le corps de nos enfants !

Nous ne laisserons pas faire !

Nous protégerons nos enfants par tous les moyens nécessaires, parce que nous les aimons, que c’est notre avenir, et parce que c’est notre devoir de parents !

Nous sommes solidaires des revendications légitimes de nos enfants, qui refusent qu’on restreigne « réforme » après « réforme » leurs champs des possibles et leurs perspectives d’avenir. Nous sommes solidaires de leurs revendications contre Parcoursup, la « réforme » du bac, la suppression de 2600 postes depuis septembre, et les discriminations dans le système scolaire le plus inégalitaire d’Europe.

Quant à notre revendication principale, elle concerne la police, qui n’a rien à faire dans l’école. Ni autour ! Nous exigeons une distance de sécurité entre nos enfants et la police. Et que les chefs d’établissement ne soient pas des relais de la police au sein de l’école. Car l’institution scolaire est aujourd’hui complice de la répression à l’égard des lycéen.nes et de l’atteinte à leurs droits fondamentaux en excluant les lycéen.nes qui bloquent les établissements, en leur refusant des salles de réunions, et en collaborant étroitement avec les services de police contre leurs élèves. Nous exigeons de l’institution scolaire qu’elle défende avant tout l’intérêt des élèves !

Dans ce sens, nous exigeons que soit respecté le droit de nos enfants à manifester et à s’exprimer. Nous refusons la criminalisation de leur engagement, cette forme de punition collective parce qu’ils osent se lever. Car notre rôle éducatif de parents c’est d’apprendre à nos enfants à refuser l’injustice et la violence.

Notre démarche est de long terme, mais nous prévoyons plusieurs actions concrètes dès les prochains jours :

• Nous sommes en train d’organiser une riposte juridique pour faire condamner l’État français. En ce sens, nous soutenons les plaintes déposées par les avocats de lycéen.nes victimes de violences policières Arié Alimi, Hosni Maati, Yassine Bouzrou, etc.

• Nous allons organiser des cellules de soutien pour les lycéen.nes victimes et leurs familles

• Nous sommes en train de rédiger une plaquette à destination de tous les lycéen.nes, avec leurs droits, les démarches à suivre, les contacts à appeler, etc

• Mais surtout nous allons protéger nos mômes, nous allons être des mères boucliers !!

• Nous nous rendrons dès ce lundi 10 décembre dans les lieux d’extrême répression, à Ivry, Mantes la Jolie, Garges, Villemonble, etc pour y faire bouclier face à la police et protéger nos enfants !

Car un pays où l’on détruit les enfants est un pays sans avenir,

Un pays où l’on terrorise les enfants se dirige vers la dictature et le fascisme.

Nos enfants, c’est notre vie, notre espoir ! Protégeons-les contre les violences d’État !

A toutes les mamans de France, rejoignez-nous!

Front de mères

Mères solidaires

Collectif des mères de Bergson

Collectif des mères d’Arago

 

https://blogs.mediapart.fr/front-de-meres/blog/081218/les-meres-avec-les-lyceens-reprimes-par-la-police-ne-touchez-pas-nos-enfants

Mothers with the school children repressed by police: do not touch our children!

·        8 déc. 2018   By Front de Mères

·        Blog : Le blog de Front de Mères

As united and determined mums, we want the  State to know that: enough is enough, we forbid you to humiliate, maim and destroy our kids! We will not allow it! We will protect our children by any means necessary, because we love them, it is our future, and because it is our duty as parents!

For several days, our high school child­­­­ren have suffered infamous police repression akin to a dictatorship.

You have declared war on our children in Ivry, Mantes-la-Jolie, Garges, Paris, Orleans, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Marseille and everywhere in France.

We witness how children are humiliated, placed in degrading positions, reminiscent of colonial practices.

We hear the police threatening them with racist and homophobic insults. Our children are illegally taken into custody and held. We see, horrified, the police mutilate them with flashballs, a number of them have lost a hand, have a smashed face, a destroyed jaw. What hypocrisy on the part of a government which at the same time wants to ban parents from spanking!

We are not fooled about what the goals of this fierce repression are: we know it’s about disfiguring the youth of this country and terrorizing them to prevent them from adding strength to the massive movement of social protest, in particular around the yellow vests. We know that police custody is used as a deterrent to prevent young people from exercising their most basic rights of expression and demonstration.

We are not fooled, we know that this repression is an extension of the Macron state that wants to try having a police presence in our schools, appoints gendarmes as deputy headmasters, and training school heads in military techniques.

We are not fooled, we also know that this system of racist oppression treats our children in a different way according to their class and their skin colour. Even if all the high school students who are demonstrating today are targeted, we know that the power treats Black and Arab youth differently than it treats middle class white youth. For decades, Blacks and Arabs youth living in working class neighbourhoods have denied even their humanity. They are not even considered children, but delinquents. We also know that this system seeks to divide us. But today, we are not divided! Today, we stand together. Because we are bound by the same feeling of love for our children and by the same feeling of worry and anguish for them.

And it is as united and determined mums that we tell the State: enough is enough, we forbid you to humiliate, mutilate and destroy our kids! Stop mistreating and sexualizing the bodies of our children!

We will not allow it!

We will protect our children by any means necessary, because we love them, it is our future, and because it is our duty as parents!

We stand in solidarity with the legitimate demands of our children, who refuse “reform” after “reform” narrowing their scope of possibilities and their future prospects. We stand in solidarity with their demands against Parcoursup, the “reform” of the baccalaureate, the elimination of 2600 posts since September, and discriminations in the most unequal school system in Europe.

As for our main demand, it concerns the police: they have no place within school. Or around it! We demand a safe distance between our children and the police. And school managers must not be extensions of the police within the school. The school institution is now complicit with the repression of high school students and the violation of their fundamental rights by excluding those who block schools, refusing them meeting rooms, and working closely with the police against their own students. We demand that school institution defends above all the interest of its pupils!

That is, we demand respect for the right of our children to demonstrate and express themselves. We refuse this criminalisation of their involvement, this collective punishment because they dare to stand up. Because our educational role as parents is to teach our children to reject injustice and violence.

What we are doing is long-term, but we are planning several concrete actions in the coming days:

• We are organizing a legal response to condemn the French State. That is, we support the complaints lodged by the lawyers of high school students victims of police violence Arié Alimi, Hosni Maati, Yassine Bouzrou, etc.

• We will organize support cells for high school students and their families.

• We are writing a booklet for all high school students, with their rights, steps to follow, contacts to call, etc.

• But above all we will protect our kids, we will be ‘mother shields’!!

• We will go this Monday, 10 December, to areas of extreme repression, Ivry, Mantes la Jolie, Garges, Villemonble, etc., to be shields from the police and protect our children!

Because a country where children are destroyed is a country without a future.

A country where children are terrorized is heading towards dictatorship and fascism.

Our children are our life, our hope! Let’s protect them against state violence!

To all the mothers of France, join us!

Mother’s front

Mothers in solidarity

Collective of Mothers of Bergson

Collective of Mothers of Arago

 

 

Statement from a Yellow Vests group in France

As you know there has been widespread street protests all over France in the last few weeks. It started against an increase in the tax on petrol while the rich had had a tax cut. The protests have grown and broadened their demands, and many sectors including students, ambulance workers, campaigners against police murders and others have joined.

We share with you this impressive statement from the Yellow Vests in Commercy, a small town in France’s north east, which describes where the movement is at.

See also links to two earlier reports by Ben Martin of Payday men’s network.

The French take to the barricades Morning Star, 28 November 2018

Revolution in France – Update on Payday facebook page, 8 December 2018

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfLIYpJHir4&feature=youtu.be

Published in lundi matin website on 6 December 2018 and translated by us.

 

Call from the Yellow Vests of Commercy
to set up popular assemblies

“We will not be ruled. We will not be divided and bought off.”

NO TO RIP OFF! LONG LIFE DIRECT DEMOCRACY!
NO NEED FOR REGIONAL ‘REPRESENTATIVES’!

For nearly two weeks the movement of yellow vests has brought hundreds of thousands of people in the streets all over France, often for the first time. The price of fuel was the drop of diesel that set the plain on fire. The suffering, the enough-is-enough, and the injustice have never been so widespread. Now, all across the country, hundreds of local groups are organizing themselves in their own different ways.

Here in Commercy, in the Meuse, we have been operating from the beginning with daily popular assemblies, where each person participates equally. We organized to block entrances to the city and service stations, and filtering road blocks. In the process, we built a cabin in the central square. We meet there every day to organize ourselves, decide next actions, interact with people, and welcome those who join the movement. We also organize “solidarity soups” to live beautiful moments together and get to know each other. In equality.

But now the government, and some parts of the movement, propose to appoint representatives for each region! That is to say a few people who would become the only “interlocutors” to public authorities and summarize our diversity.

But we do not want “representatives” who would end up talking for us!

What’s the point? At Commercy a punctual delegation met the sub-prefect, in big cities others met directly with the Prefect: they ALREADY have conveyed our anger and our demands. They ALREADY know that we are determined to finish off with this hated president, this detestable government, and the rotten system they embody!

And that’s what scares the government! Because he knows that if they begin to give in on taxes and fuels, they will also have to back down on pensions, the unemployed, the status of civil servants, and all the rest! They also knows VERY WELL that they risk intensifying a GENERALIZED MOVEMENT AGAINST THE SYSTEM!

It is not to better understand our anger and our demands that the government wants “representatives”: it is to supervise and bury us! As with the union leadership, they look for intermediaries, people with whom they could negotiate. On whom they can put pressure to appease the eruption. People that they can then buy off and press to divide the movement to bury it.

But that’s without counting on the strength and intelligence of our movement. It’s without counting that we are thinking, organizing, developing our actions that scare them so much and amplifying the movement!

And above all, there is a very important thing: everywhere the movement of the yellow vests demand in various forms, something that is well beyond the purchasing power! This thing is power to the people, by the people, for the people. It is a new system where “those who are nothing” as they say with contempt, regain power over all those who stuff themselves, over those who rule, and over the money powers. It’s equality. It’s justice. It’s freedom. That’s what we want! And it starts from the grassroots!

If we appoint “representatives” and “spokespersons”, it will eventually make us passive. Worse: we will quickly reproduce the system and act from top down like the scoundrels who rule us. These so-called “representatives of the people” who are filling their pockets, who make laws that rot our lives and serve the interests of the ultra-rich!

Let’s not put our finger in the gear of representation and hijacking. This is not the time to hand over our voice to a handful of people, even if they seem honest. They must listen to all of us or to no one!

From Commercy, we therefore call for the creation throughout France of popular committees, which function in regular general assemblies. Places where speech is liberated, where one dares to express oneself, to train oneself, to help one another. If there must be delegates, it is at the level of each local yellow vests people’s committee, closer to the voice of the people. With imperative, revocable, and rotating mandates. With transparency. With trust.

We also call for the hundreds of groups of yellow vests to have a cabin as in Commercy, or a “people’s house” as in Saint-Nazaire, in short, a place of rallying and organization! And that they coordinate themselves, at the local and departmental level, in equality!

This is how we will win, because that, up there, they are not used to manage it! And it scares them a lot.

We will not let ourselves be ruled. We will not let ourselves be divided and bought off.

No to self-proclaimed representatives and spokespersons! Let’s take back the power over our lives! Long live the yellow vests in their diversity!

LONG LIVE PEOPLE POWER, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE!

If you agree with the basics of this appeal where you are, in your local group of yellow vests, or other, contact us at giletsjaunescommercy@gmail.com and let’s coordinate ourselves on the basis of popular and egalitarian assemblies!

 

11 Dec: Protecting Breastfeeding from state intervention

From Legal Action for Women:

Dear Friends,

Protecting breastfeeding from State intervention (family courts, detention centres, hospitals, prisons, etc.)

We thought you would like to know about an important meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding & Inequalities on Tuesday 11 December 2018.  See agenda here.

Solveig Francis and Shoda Rackal from Milk of Human Kindness and members of the Support Not Separation coalition will be presenting.  As you may know, despite the wealth of evidence on the importance of breastfeeding, there is no protection for mothers and babies in the kind of situations indicated above, no requirement for those making decisions over children’s futures to protect their right to being breastfed, and to avoid the trauma of separation, which interrupts or ends breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding has even been used as evidence against the mother, and to give fathers overnight contact while the child is still breastfeeding.

You are welcome to attend the meeting which will be held in Committee Room 8, Portcullis House (entrance on Victoria Embankment around the corner from Westminster tube).  The meeting starts at 1pm – aim to arrive by 12.50 (after allowing 30 mins to go through security) when we will be escorted to the room.

We would welcome any personal stories about this problem that we might be able to raise. Of course any account will be kept anonymous.

Please let us know if you can come (especially as the meeting room can change at short notice).

Nina

0207 482 2496

https://supportnotseparation.blog/