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Detainees on hunger strike

Letter published in the Guardian, Wednesday April 26, 2006

We are Algerian men who have now been locked up in prison in this country for as long as five years. We know that we face torture in our country of origin, but some of us have come to the decision that a quick death is preferable to the slow death we feel we are enduring here. We have watched some of our members go mad under the strain; we have watched our families suffer and some of us believe that the only thing that we can do is to go forward into the fire, even though we believe we will be burnt.

Having made that decision, we now find that the Algerian embassy says it is the Home Office that is not cooperating with them. We believe that the Home Office prefers to keep us here as a particular form of hostage, for political purposes, and to continue to inflict cruelty upon us, until, they hope, all of us will feel compelled to go.

We have tried to tell the media and, in particular, we have tried to tell the Islam television channel in this country, but had the phone box closed down so we could no longer phone the presenter of the programme, whose number we had previously been authorised to ring. We know the population at large in this country, including Muslims, knows nothing of what has happened to us. We write to ask that you help us break the silence. We are all on hunger strike and have been so now for a week.

The forgotten Long Lartin hostages
Long Lartin prison, Evesham, Worcs

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