The friends and family of Rubel Ahmed, a Bangladeshi student who died in immigration custody in the UK two weeks ago, demonstrated outside the British Home Office in London Tuesday, demanding an independent enquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death.
The 26-year-old was picked up by UK immigration police on July 22 and kept at a Morton Hall detention centre in Lincolnshire. He was found dead on September 9 in mysterious circumstances.
Though the authorities have launched an enquiry, the protesters demanded that the Home Office conduct a full investigation.
The demonstration was organised by Justice for Rubel Campaign, supported by a host of organisations including Movement for Justice, Movement Against Xenophobia, RMT, Bangladesh Human Rights Commission, Voice for Justice, Students League, Youth Union, Greater Lamakazi Welfare Association, Jalalabad Probashi Kallayan Parishod, Greater Sylhet Development & Welfare Council, and Voice for Change.
After his death, the authorities concerned said Rubel had committed suicide, but his inmates said he was complaining of chest pains on the night of his death.
Rubel had been banging on his cell door asking for help for at least two hours before anybody came to attend him, said the inmates. When the staff came it was too late, as the ambulance crew declared him dead, they added.
A memorandum addressed to Home Secretary Theresa May and Immigration Minister James Brokenshire was submitted to Home Office calling for an enquiry. Expressing concerns over the increased harassment, discrimination and intolerance towards immigrants and foreign student population, the protesters said irrespective of backgrounds all detainees should be valued and treated with respect. Rubel's cousins Mayen Uddin Ansar and Heron Miah said they were seeking a second opinion on the post-mortem report.
Hailed from Bishwanath upazila in Sylhet, Rubel had been living there since 2009.