The ArgusLewes prison 'worse than Syria' claims refugee (From The Argus)

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Lewes prison 'worse than Syria' claims refugee

The Argus: Lewes prison worse than Syria claims refugee Lewes prison worse than Syria claims refugee

A refugee has claimed his time in a UK prison was more emotionally distressing than living in his war-torn homeland.

Syrian refugee Roudi Chikho told a national newspaper he was horrified by the violence inside HMP Lewes after his imprisonment for travelling on an illegal passport.

But prison monitors said that Lewes prison was no more violent than other jails around the country and was far preferable to conditions inside Syrian jails.


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The 28-year-old Kurd had been secretly filming atrocities carried out by the Assad government and smuggled footage out to al-Jazeera and YouTube.

Syrian government officials were then tipped off about his activities so he was forced to flee his homeland, crossing the border into Turkey, before being smuggled onto Spain and finally flying into Gatwick.

Arriving at the Sussex airport in December 2012, he was imprisoned for travelling on a false Canadian passport and given a year’s sentence which he served at Lewes prison.

He has since being granted refugee status in the UK and is now working as a chef in a top Middle Eastern restaurant in London.

He told The Guardian this week: “I was with all these criminals but didn’t think of myself as a criminal.

“There was a lot of fighting in the prison. I saw many terrible things in Syria, but the first time I cried was when I was in Lewes prison.

“It was horrible to see all the violence there.”

Dr Neil Ambrose of Lewes Prison’s independent monitoring board said: “It would be considerably more preferable to be incarcerated in HMP Lewes than in a prison in Syria. You are always going to get violence in any prisons because of the kind of people who are inside and it is more likely in a category B prison like Lewes than in an open prison or a training prison where the population is less in flux.

“The prison has a violence reduction programme in place which identifies the ringleaders of any violence and moves them to different wings to disrupt their actions.”

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “We do not tolerate violence in prison and have systems in place to take swift and robust action against perpetrators, with serious incidents referred to the police for prosecution.

“A recent inspection report found that HMP Lewes prisoners felt safe and commended the prison's strengths – notably the safe and decent environment.

“We are currently reviewing how we manage violence in all prisons with a view to introducing further improvements and ensuring prisons are safer places for everyone.”

Comments (8)

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6:44am Fri 21 Feb 14

Maxwell's Ghost says...

If it's not so bad in Syria then go home. Please don't tell me I'm paying tax for this freeloading whinger.
If it's not so bad in Syria then go home. Please don't tell me I'm paying tax for this freeloading whinger. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 23

8:24am Fri 21 Feb 14

Martin999 says...

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Martin999
  • Score: 19

10:09am Fri 21 Feb 14

redwing says...

Anything for a sensationalist headline, Argus and just the ticket for Maxwell's Ghost, Martin999 etc.
There are many people who can testify how a person can emotionally "hold it together" throughout traumatic events, but be brought to tears later. Obviously this journalist isn't one of them. In any case if anyone thinks it's a cakewalk to flee to a strange country for sanctuary (in this case leaving behind a wife and child) and then find yourself slung in prison like a criminal amongst some very damaged and distressed inmates, it's a pity they can't try it out for themselves.
Anything for a sensationalist headline, Argus and just the ticket for Maxwell's Ghost, Martin999 etc. There are many people who can testify how a person can emotionally "hold it together" throughout traumatic events, but be brought to tears later. Obviously this journalist isn't one of them. In any case if anyone thinks it's a cakewalk to flee to a strange country for sanctuary (in this case leaving behind a wife and child) and then find yourself slung in prison like a criminal amongst some very damaged and distressed inmates, it's a pity they can't try it out for themselves. redwing
  • Score: -6

12:37pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Man of steel says...

This raises several questions for me, such as:-
Why did he not claim refugee status in any of the countries he passed through on his way to England?
Why did he land with, and try to present a forged Canadian passport?
Why was he not just sent back on the next plane as an illegal immigrant?
Why did he not ask for, and get, refugee status, until after his sentence?
Why is he now moaning about conditions in a British jail, is he aiming to claim compensation?
This raises several questions for me, such as:- Why did he not claim refugee status in any of the countries he passed through on his way to England? Why did he land with, and try to present a forged Canadian passport? Why was he not just sent back on the next plane as an illegal immigrant? Why did he not ask for, and get, refugee status, until after his sentence? Why is he now moaning about conditions in a British jail, is he aiming to claim compensation? Man of steel
  • Score: 10

9:28pm Fri 21 Feb 14

john5001 says...

send him home , and the rest
send him home , and the rest john5001
  • Score: 0

10:15pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Imbecile says...

All this rubbish about filming atrocities and being hunted down by Assad's regime is just a load of lies. How do we know he's telling the truth? A gullible immigration judge believed him, when he should have been refused asylum and sent back.
All this rubbish about filming atrocities and being hunted down by Assad's regime is just a load of lies. How do we know he's telling the truth? A gullible immigration judge believed him, when he should have been refused asylum and sent back. Imbecile
  • Score: 0

12:10am Sat 22 Feb 14

Levent says...

"we don't tolerate violence in prison" haha, Yeah, I'm sure it's a place more akin to something out of porridge... you hear me FLETCHER!?
"we don't tolerate violence in prison" haha, Yeah, I'm sure it's a place more akin to something out of porridge... you hear me FLETCHER!? Levent
  • Score: 0

1:13am Sat 22 Feb 14

whatevernext2013 says...

redwing wrote:
Anything for a sensationalist headline, Argus and just the ticket for Maxwell's Ghost, Martin999 etc.
There are many people who can testify how a person can emotionally "hold it together" throughout traumatic events, but be brought to tears later. Obviously this journalist isn't one of them. In any case if anyone thinks it's a cakewalk to flee to a strange country for sanctuary (in this case leaving behind a wife and child) and then find yourself slung in prison like a criminal amongst some very damaged and distressed inmates, it's a pity they can't try it out for themselves.
not much of a man to flee and dump his child and wife and leave them in the line of fire
[quote][p][bold]redwing[/bold] wrote: Anything for a sensationalist headline, Argus and just the ticket for Maxwell's Ghost, Martin999 etc. There are many people who can testify how a person can emotionally "hold it together" throughout traumatic events, but be brought to tears later. Obviously this journalist isn't one of them. In any case if anyone thinks it's a cakewalk to flee to a strange country for sanctuary (in this case leaving behind a wife and child) and then find yourself slung in prison like a criminal amongst some very damaged and distressed inmates, it's a pity they can't try it out for themselves.[/p][/quote]not much of a man to flee and dump his child and wife and leave them in the line of fire whatevernext2013
  • Score: 2

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