Victims of torture seeking asylum in the UK are routinely being held in detention while their applications are processed, in breach of government rules, according to a pressure group.
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Medical Justice says torture victims should be housed in the community and locked up only in exceptional circumstances.
But it claims that in all but one of 50 asylum seekers whose cases it investigated, only one was released under the so-called Rule 35 process that is supposed to safeguard torture victims on arrival in the UK.
The charity is demanding that the UK Border Agency, which is responsible for processing the cases, adheres immediately to the government's own rules, and wants an independent audit to verify compliance.
The UKBA says its criteria do not mean a blanket exemption for survivors of torture and that each case must be treated on its merits.
But Medical Justice says all but two of the 50 investigated have since been released, raising the question of why they needed to be detained in the first place.
Its report tells of poor documentation and clinical mismanagement of detainees' healthcare provision, sometimes by unqualified people.
"Inadequate and ill-considered responses from UKBA workers were the norm, demonstrating an inability to interpret medical evidence, a culture of denial and a misunderstanding about the legal standard of proof."
Hunger strike and suicide
Under the terms of Rule 35, medical practitioners in immigration removal centres are supposed to report any individuals they believe may have been victims of torture.
UKBA officials should then review the cases and consider whether detention is appropriate.
Medical Justice argues that guidance to officials says that where there is independent evidence of torture they should be released, except in "very exceptional circumstances".
The report says the people surveyed were held for an average of 226 days at a cost of about £23,000 per person, considerably more than the likely cost of keeping them in the community -usually in hostels or with friends or relatives - while their cases were considered.
It asserts that 23 per cent went on hunger strike, 16 per cent attempted suicide and 11 were taken to hospital as emergency patients.
Report author Natasha Tsangarides said: "The UK Border Agency and their contractors must be brought to account. That they can treat some of the most vulnerable individuals in this way and behind closed doors is a disgrace. All we ask for is that the government implements its own policy."
The UKBA did not comment on any of the individual allegations, but said in a statement: "The UKBA takes the issue of detainee welfare seriously and is committed to treating detainees with dignity and respect.
"Torture survivors are normally considered suitable for detention only in exceptional circumstances, but this does not mean a blanket exemption of such individuals from detention.
"Each case must be considered on its merits and all factors, including a history of allegations of torture, must be considered before a decision is reached."
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