Renewed fears over tension in Greenoek prison
Disturbances at Greenock prison last month will erupt again unless lessons are learned from the incident, the Scottish Prison Service has been warned.
Workers at the West of Scotland Community Relations CounCiI (CRC) keep in Close contact with so-called 'prisoners awaiting deportation’ (PADs). They fear that the combination of convicted and remand prisoners with those seeking refugee status is causing dangerous friction.
Greenock’s Gateside Prison generally houses upwards of a dozen PADs — usually illegal immigrants who are claiming political asylum and waiting fOr a home office deCision on their
Last month, a number were attacked by other prisoners as they left a recreation area. Although attempts have since been made to defuse the situation, Dr Sajid Hussain fears trouble will resurface. ’We are hoping they will have taken some heed of last month's events,‘ he said. ’We have warned the prison service that it is going to happen again.
'The riots that occurred at Greenock were inevitable,’ Dr Hussein added, ’PADs don’t see themselves as guilty of any major crime against society, yet they find themselves in prison with rapists, burglars and murderers. They tend to say “we haven't done anything
- so why should we accept that?" '
He added that no criticism of the Scottish Prison Service (SP5) or Greenock prison staff was intended. 'Officers there are doing their best to bring about racial equality, but prison culture was never created to take innocent people,’ he said.
The tension is caused by differences in treatment between PADs and other prisoners, he explained. Immigration detainees often have different dietary requirements and other benefits.
Such measures can be seen by convicted prisoners as favouritism, but they are actually part of treating detainees equally, Hussain argues.
The problem lies with the Immigration
Department, he claims, and the lack of dedicated Immigration Detention Centres in Scotland — the number of immigrants held in Scotland are not thought to justify separate conditions.
’The Immigration Department is creating this problem by dumping these men on the SPS when they shouldn't be in prison at all,’ Hussain said.
A spokesperson for the SPS refused to comment on claims that further trouble was inevitable. 'The prison service houses the PADs on behalf of the Immigration Department. The incident last month wasn’t a direct attack on these prisoners, they just happened to be involved.’ (Stephen Naysmith)
Book fair to break boundaries
NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING author Wole Soyinka Will be the main speaker at Edinburgh’s first independent radical book fair next month, despite faCing a charge of treason in his home country of Nigeria.
Soyinka, who was in 1986 the first African writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, has been an outspoken opponent of Nigeria’s military rulers through his prolific output of plays, novels and writings.
His work has frequently brought him into conflict With the authorities, culminating in treason charges brought earlier this year. He has been living in exile for some time and is therefore able to attend the festival which is on 10-12 June.
The festival is being held by Word Power Arts, an offshoot of Edinburgh's Word Power radical bookshop. Organiser Elaine Henry said it will cater for readers who want more than mainstream outlets have to offer.
'A lot of book events aren’t geared up for the small press, they are too mainstream,’ she said. ’I wanted to do something which catered for customers who are interested in the ideas, discussion and dialogue Within books.’
The fair includes a social evening The Red Night on Saturday 12 July which will include readings by Scottish authors Duncan McLean and Carl
MacDougall Somerset Maugham prize-Winner McLean, said: 'I like anything that
reminds folk that reading and writing are basically a radical actiwty, I believe we are beginning to see a supermarketisation of culture. It is not a good trend if you are a lover of books.’
McLean’s latest book Loan Star SWing and Ahead of its Time Will be published; August. (Stephen Naysmith) I The Edinburgh Independent Radical Book Fair 7997 is at the McDonald Library, IO—IZJu/y Contact Word Power Arts on 0137 662 97 I2.
4 ‘I'I'IELISY 13—26 Jun 1997
THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL has traditionally been a stagnant period in the calendar for the City's pop and rock fans, but this looks set to change this year With the debut appearance of FLUX: The Edinburgh New Music Festival. The aim of this ’festival within a festival’ is to showcase artists at the more thoughtful end of the pop and rock spectrum as well as the cream of the contemporary scene.
The idea is the brainchild of David Sefton and Alex Poots, head of artistic development at the South Bank Centre and artistic consultant at the Barbican Centre respectively.
'We’ve been coming here for the last fifteen years and What seemed so bizarre is that, While every other art form exploded during the Festival, the interesting new music scene seemed to contract,’ explains Sefton.
'There seemed to be such an obvious gap in What is, for me, the most interesting area of music: that collision between the intelligent end of pop music and the interesting end of contemporary ClaSSICa|,'
The launch concert of FLUX, a
Babybird: music to the Festival's ears
collaboration between the Divine Comedy and Michael Nyman, is a good indication of the policy the festival will pursue, With Nyman re-scoring some of his compositions for the band. Sax man Andy Sheppard will make an appearance with Jazz Jamaica, and the line-up also includes Babybird, the Steve Martland Band, The Tindersticks,
Big break on offer as rock hits the fringe
Faust, The Wannadies and Heaven 17, the homegrown delights of Teenage Fanclub, Midge Ure, the East Coast Project and a triple bill of Urusei Yatsura, Mogwai and the Delgados. All the concerts will take place at the Jaffa Cake on Kings Stables Road.
FLUX are also running a Scottish bands competition as a way of supporting new musical talent in Scotland. Three Winning groups Will support a major act in the festival as well as having the opportunity to spend two days in a studio recording and mixing a CD single. Five hundred copies of the single Will be printed up for the band’s own promotion.
Bands or solo artists interested in entering must be under 25, unsigned and resident in Scotland. Send a demo tape, with one track only on it, together with a history and statement or CV about yourself or your group, With your contact name, address and telephone number to: FLUX: Scottish Band Competition, C/o USP Arts Ltd, 55 Ambler Road, London N4 205. The closing date is Friday ll July.
Lottery cash to rescue street children
A SCOTTISH CHARITY has defended the use of lottery money to teach Circus skills to children in Columbia.
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund has been awarded £250,000 to allow it to sponsor ’Circus For AII', a local prOject in Cali, Columbia, which works With street Children.
Despite recent controversy over similar cases, there is no reason Why lottery money shouldn't be spent abroad, according to Oscar Mendoza, SCIAF prOjects co-ordinator.
'There are obVioust people in need abroad, and some of them are in much more need than people in the UK. The British public, and the Scottish in partiCiilar, are very supportive of international aid efforts,’ he explained.
Columbian street children live at risk from drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution and violence. They are increasingly the
target of death squads What prOjeCt co- ordinator Oscar Mendoza terms 'sOCial Cleansing'. In the last decade, the murder rate for children aged ten to nineteen has increased five fold.
The money was given in the first round of international grants made by the National Lottery Charities Board. Spokesperson, Sharon Tynan said. 'Some of the tabIOids may not be happy about non-British people getting the money, but the public in Britain has a different View. Britain has a proud heritage of donations overseas.’
Paul Chitnis, Executive Director of SCIAF, said the Circus prOject Will have a real benefiCial effect: 'The Circus training Will restore the street Children's self esteem and dignity, develop their physical, mental and SOCial skills and offer them realistic employment opportunities.’ (Phil Miller)
K”) Iv VF} r . H w!“
Columbian children faced with hardship are to be taught circus skills