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Demand access to video-link visits

Kevan Thakrar has been held captive in prison for 13 years. In 2008 at the age of 20 Kevan began serving a life sentence, with a minimum term of 35 years, under the racist “joint enterprise” doctrine.


Kevan’s refusal to submit to racist abuse from prison guards has made him a target for reprisals. Notably, in 2010 he suffered a premeditated attack in his cell by HMP Frankland guards. When he fought back he was charged with attempted murder and GBH, and put in solitary confinement, where in one form or another he remains to this day. The charges were sufficiently brazen that a jury cleared him unanimously in a rare victory against the testimony of prison officers.

Nevertheless, as retribution against him, Kev has spent 11 years in Closed Supervision Centres (CSCs). CSCs are, in Kev's own words, "the English version of American supermax prisons, indefinite solitary confinement within the most oppressive and brutal environment found in this country. Psychological warfare is used upon its victims on a constant basis, with frequent physical attacks supplementing the arbitrary punishment."


Kevan is being denied access to digital visits due to racist and targeted discrimination by the prison. Despite being a pilot prison for the "Purple Visits" scheme - the video link program being rolled out in prisons during the pandemic - HMP Full Sutton are denying access to online visits. Please tweet, email and call Full Sutton to demand this is addressed immediately. You can use the draft emails and tweets below.



Email Governor Gareth Sands:

Gareth.sands@hmps.gsi.gov.uk


Use the email tool:

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/action-alert-demand-access-to-video-link-visits-for-kevan-thakrar/


Sample email:

For the attention of Governor Gareth Sands,


I am writing with concern about the gross negligence of HMP Full Sutton and the Independent Monitoring Board in failing to provide access to the Purple Visit scheme to Kevan Thakrar and others held captive in the Closed Supervision Centre.


I understand that Kevan applied for Purple Visits in June 2020, after everyone in the prison received a notice stating that the video calls were available. In response to his request he was told that he was being “risk assessed” and that he would receive a response once that was complete. Kevan did not receive a reply and his solicitor sent a letter in September 2020 pursuing the matter. The prison denied that he had applied for Purple Visits, but said that they would facilitate the video calls if he did.


Kevan attempted to apply, but he was told that he needs a specific form issued by Visits Booking. This form was not provided for several weeks so Kevan complained. In response, the prison said that Purple Visits are not available in the Closed Supervision Centre (CSC), but that "we are looking to improve our service". Kevan went on to appeal this and the prison Governor replied that "we are looking to improve the service". Kevan went on to complain to the Independent Monitoring Board. A month later, the Board replied saying that they have looked into it and that there is NO INTENTION to deliver vital video calls to prisoners in the CSC unit "because they don't have the technology to provide it and they are not going to be purchasing it".


As you will be aware, Purple Visits is the only option available for Kevan and others held in the CSC to connect with their loved ones during this pandemic. Failing to provide Kevan with this right is a breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act that protects the right to a family life.


I look forward to hearing how you will remedy this situation, with urgency.


Best wishes,

Tweet

@HMPFullSutton


Sample Tweets:

.@HMPFullSutton why are you denying Kevan Thakrar access to purple visits? We know your prison is piloting the scheme. This is targeted racist abuse and torture.


.@HMPFullSutton Kevan Thakrar first requested access to Purple visits in June 2020. Why was he ignored for so long? Why was his request refused? Why are you still denying him access to family and friends?


Phone HMP Full Sutton

01759 475 100


Sample Phone Script:

Hello. I am calling with concern about HMP Full Sutton’s refusal to provide Kevan Thakrar and others incarcerated in the closed supervision centre with access to the purple visits scheme. Kevan has applied for Purple Visits and is aware that the scheme is being piloted at Full Sutton, however he has been denied access. This is a violation of his human rights. Please can you inform me about how this will be urgently remedied?