Saturday, December 1, 2012
Injustice 2 - The Thakrar Story
HMP Frankland – Kevan Thakrar, racist brutality, and the prison's response
It is rare that I write a blog about an individual prisoner. Whilst inside, any urge to do so was tempered by a rule prohibiting me from identifying either prisoners or staff. Now I have no such restrictions.
But I will talk about Kevan Thakrar. Keen readers will Google the name and find that he is a prisoner, and like all prisoners has been convicted of a fairly horrible crime. I don’t defend this.
But I would hope that his alleged antecedents do not excuse the staff at HMP Frankland’s Segregation Unit (the Block) from running a campaign of racist brutality that left Thakrar in fear of his life. His own unwillingness to be cowed was only made worse – in the eyes of screws – when he attempted to highlight the situation with his MP and the media, and defending his fellow prisoners.
And so the day came when a group of staff charged his door to inflict another beating. Thakrar defended himself rather too well on this occasion and stabbed three staff. He was promptly charged with attempted murder.
And Thakrar was acquitted of all charges. The all white, non criminal jury accepted his evidence of acting out of self-defence. As could be expected, the local media was hijacked by the prison governor and prison officers to portray this as an outrage. The brutality in Frankland has still not been investigated, the jury be damned.
Never willing to accept defeat, the prison service promptly dumped Thakrar in the deepest hole it could find, the Close Supervision Centre at HMP Woodhill – a dungeon within a dungeon. Their excuse for this act is the very crime Thakrar has been acquitted of.
Here is Thakrar’s own account:
"Following my unanimous Not Guilty verdict at Newcastle Crown Court for attempted murder x 2 and GBH section 18 x 3 against Frankland prison staff, by a jury of 12 white British members of the general public, I have been hearing a lot about how this was due to me suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Although it is correct to say that due to the serious gang attack I sustained whilst on remand at HMP Woodhill on 31 May 2008 that I do indeed have PTSD, the reason why I am innocent of any assault on Frankland prison staff is because I acted in self-defence.
Had I not defended myself, I would have suffered life-threatening injuries in a pre-planned racist attack. Staff at Frankland had taken exception to the assistance I was providing to victims of assault by staff in the segregation unit and decided my time was up. How dare I report staff criminality to the police!
The actual tipping point came when I wrote to Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods. I asked for her assistance in putting a stop to the racial attacks by staff and culture of criminality which was being covered up by a code of silence. The help Roberta Blackman-Woods MP gave me was to send a copy of my letter to the governor of Frankland (thank you!) who then had enough.
Unfortunately I was still almost killed after I defended myself. The Durham police have attempted to cover this up and I am yet to see any of the media report these real facts.
The Prison Service, which feels embarrassed by this whole situation, has kept me locked away in the isolation unit of the Close Supervision Centre at HMP Woodhill. For two years now, the psychological warfare has included stopping all communications to friends and family through mail and phone, and non-stop aggression. I am an innocent man, wrongly imprisoned in the first place, and proven to be innocent of the false allegations made by corrupt prison staff – am I really worth £250,000 of taxpayers’ money?
I am sure everyone can understand my safety in prison from corrupt, criminal prison staff is now much harder to ensure. It must be difficult for Prison Service management to find a safe location for me to progress through my wrongful sentence, so I wait with anticipation to see where they will move this innocent man to.
It is a sorry state of affairs made worse by the pathetic lies coming from the corrupt prison officers’ camp in order to increase the possibility of compensation. Surely the time has come for the oppressors to give up with their unjust acts and recognise that the 12 members of the jury saw the truth. The time has come to move on and learn from mistakes made on all sides; attempts to spin more lies, half-truths and misrepresentations to cover up the racist, sadistic nature of the Prison Service institution help no-one.
The jury were unanimous: I acted in lawful self-defence using reasonable threat against the threat posed. The way forward is to seek to eliminate that threat so no other prisoners have to experience the torture and no innocent bystanders get burned by the fire which the corrupt staff continue to fuel. A ‘rehabilitation revolution’ can never occur until an independent body is tasked with rooting out these problems and is paid for every corrupt official exposed.
Kevan Thakrar, Saturday 18th February 2012”
There are those – perhaps many – who sincerely believe that what is done in prisons is done with consideration and in a proper humane manner. I cannot criticise those who live in ignorance – even if it is wilful.
But the situation at Frankland has been known throughout the prison system for years, and exists in the face of all official regulation and the various watchdogs. Power corrupts; and the prison system is the essence of State power.
All can ever do is drag some of these events into the light. Ignorance can no longer be an excuse for indifference.