Created: Thursday, 07 November 2013 10:57
Written by Eric Allison
On Sunday 3 November around 20 people demonstrated in support of Kevan Thakrar outside Manchester prison (Strangeways).The action was in protest at the continued ill-treatment of Kevan by the Prison Service and calling for an end to his years of solitary confinement. The protest was organised by Manchester FRFI/RCG and Kevan's parents Jean and Al. Supporters included JENGbA (Joint Enterprise – Guilty by Association) and the Justice4Grainger Campaign. At the end of the demonstration the protesters moved to the side of the prison to shout their support over the wall to Kevan, and later on got news that he had heard their calls of support!
In June this year, Kevan was moved from the Close Supervision Centre at Woodhill prison where he had been held since being acquitted, in November 2011, of wounding three prison officers. Kevan's defence was that he acted in self-defence, following years of abuse by prison staff. His case was supported by a psychologist, originally retained by the prosecution, but who ‘switched sides’ after examining Kevan and determining that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his treatment in prison.
More than 20 prison staff gave evidence for the prosecution. Kevan's witnesses were all prisoners, all of proven bad character. The jury clearly chose to believe them.
Kevan was told his transfer from Woodhill was a ‘progressive move’ and that he would be receiving psychological treatment at Manchester. In fact, he has received no psychological help and has been subjected to a daily regime of intimidation and abuse by staff. His visits have been curtailed, some held in closed conditions, despite neither Kevan or his visitors ever being suspected of smuggling contraband - the usual stated reason for closed visits. His mail has been stopped and he is subjected to numerous daily strip searches. For weeks now, he has been held in a special isolation cell, with no contact with other prisoners.
The Prison Service is a key arm of the criminal justice system. Its staff do not question the convictions of those the courts send to prison. So, though Kevan's acquittal must still rankle with his keepers, they should respect the decision of the court which cleared him. They are there to serve the law, not to break, or be above, it.
Please support Kevan’s struggle by sending messages of solidarity to Kevan Thakrar A4907AE, HMP MANCHESTER (SIU), Southall Street, Strangeways, MANCHESTER M60 9AH
For background to Kevan’s case, imprisonment and transfer to Manchester see: