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Anniversary of death of Eliud Nyenze, asylum seeker, at Oakington Immigration Removal Centre

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Medically neglected, he would have died anyway, ruled the inquest.

13 April 2011. Kenyan asylum seeker Eliud Nyenze died at Oakington Immigration Removal Centre one year ago on Friday 15th April.

eliud_nyenze.jpgEliud, 40, allegedly died from medical neglect, after his pleas for painkillers and a doctor were refused by G4S, the private company which runs Oakington, in Cambridge.

An investigation into his death ruled otherwise, attributing Eliud’s death to natural causes and clearing Oakington authorities of any responsibility.

One year after, G4S may be facing manslaughter charges into the death of Jimmy Mubenga at Heathrow airport. Jimmy died during an attempted forced deportation to Angola while being restrained by three G4S officers.

Eliud Nyenze’s sudden death at the detention centre sparked loud protests from other Oakington detainees, which ultimately led to a police crackdown and to the arrest and/or removal of 60 detainees.

The protest broke out as the shocked friends of the man tried to prevent his body being removed from the detention centre, fearing a cover-up and demanding that the circumstances surrounding his death, particularly the denial of medical treatment, required independent public investigation.

Cambridge residents gathered outside Oakington Immigration Removal Centre a few days later to hold a solidarity demo calling for its closure.

Cambridge Migrant Solidarity (CMS) was set up in response to Eliud’s death and in solidarity with the Oakington detainees. It has hence been in contact with detainees inside the centre.

Reports from inside the detention centre suggested that the Kenyan man was denied medical attention and that he died after an ambulance called by fellow detainees had been turned away from the centre by detention centre staff.

A Guardian source reported that Mr. Nyenze, 40, who is believed to have had a heart attack, had asked for painkillers repeatedly and was seen "crawling around the floor in pain" before he died.

An inquest at Huntingdon heard that Eliud Nyenze had asked for paracetamol just before he died in April, but the inquest was told the refusal of paracetamol would not have made a difference. On the contrary, medical evidence from Home Office pathologist Nat Carey suggested a natural cause of death.

The inquest ruled that Mr. Nyenze died due to natural causes. It was probably caused by an irregular heartbeat.

Coroner for South and West Cambridgeshire David Morris said there was no "gross failure" by the authorities at Oakington. They, rather, acted in a "timely and appropriate" manner.

In May, the Oakington immigration detention centre had been stripped of a prestigious 2009 international safety award, which had been won by G4S, the private security company which runs Oakington, in Cambridge, before the fatality.

G4S are the private company who may be facing manslaughter charges into the death of Jimmy Mubenga at Heathrow airport. Jimmy died during an attempted forced deportation to Angola while being restrained by three G4S officers.

CMS are planning to mark the anniversary of Eliud’s death on Friday – more info to follow. Please contact CMS at: http://www.cms-lists.riseup.net or on Facebook

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