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Private company under fire over man’s death in immigration detention

Amir Siman-Tov from Morocco died while on suicide watch at Colnbrook in 2016

PRIVATE security company Mitie is under fire about how a Moroccan man was able to take his own life while on suicide watch at the firm’s immigration detention centre near Heathrow.

An inquest opens on Monday at West London coroner’s court to probe the role of Mitie, the Home Office and the NHS in the death of 41-year-old Amir Siman-Tov.

Mr Siman-Tov, a convert to Judaism, died at Colnbrook immigration removal centre on February 17 2016. His wife was pregnant at the time of his death.

His inquest has taken over three years to start after repeated delays.

Assistant coroner Dr Sean Cummings will now explore events in the weeks leading up to the death, in which Mr Siman-Tov was discharged from Hillingdon hospital and transferred to Colnbrook, where he was placed on suicide watch.

Guards from Mitie Care and Custody will give evidence about their supervision of Mr Siman-Tov and nurses from Central and North West London NHS Foundation are expected to testify about the care they provided.

A fellow detainee has previously told Lacuna Magazine that “Amir was a strong man. He was normal.”

However after a few weeks in detention he saw Mr Siman-Tov start vomiting and coughing until eventually he died.

Inspectors visited Colnbrook a fortnight after his death and found “chronic” staff shortages were affecting the quality of healthcare.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said there was a “high” number of detainees on constant suicide watch and that “the environment in which detainees were kept was often poor.”

He warned: “Some detainees had severe mental health problems and should not have been in immigration detention.”

 

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