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Napier Barracks: Asylum seeker pleads not guilty to assault

AN ASYLUM-SEEKER accused of assaulting a security guard at former military barracks in Kent pleaded not guilty today.  

Mohammed Ali, was arrested in January on the day that a fire broke out at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, where the Home Office has been holding asylum-seekers since September. 

Appearing at Canterbury Crown Court via videolink today, Mr Ali pleaded not guilty to charges of affray, assault and criminal damage. 

The 22-year-old, who remains in custody, was among 14 people arrested. The others have been released on bail. 

The disturbance at Napier Barracks took place after residents were instructed to self-isolate for another 10 days after Covid-19 infections ripped through the barracks. 

Last week the Home Office admitted that cases of Covid-19 were even higher than previously reported, with 197 infections recorded — half of all residents.

Conditions at Napier have been described as overcrowded, unsafe and non-Covid-19 compliant by rights groups, health professionals and campaigners. 

A full trial before a jury will take place on August 31, with a pre-hearing on June 4. 

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