Two asylum seekers caught in a massive knife attack at a Glasgow hotel have filed a High Court complaint against the Home Office and their accommodation provider, the Guardian has learned.
The men, one of whom said he reported concerns about the assailant to hotel management, are also calling for an independent investigation.
On June 26, 2020, Badreddin Abadlla Adam, a 28-year-old asylum seeker from Sudan, stabbed six people, including a police officer, at the Park Inn hotel in Glasgow before police shot him dead.
One of the two asylum seekers who now carry a challenge lost his spleen in the attack and is therefore on medication for life. His asylum claim was rejected in July this year and he is appealing the decision.
The other had supported Adam as he watched his mental health deteriorate after being moved, along with 320 other asylum seekers, from self-contained accommodation to hotels at the start of the pandemic.
The day before the attack, Adam told him he wanted to stab people, he said. The asylum seeker reported this to hotel management and said he believed the threat to be credible. The next day he was woken up by the sound of the fire alarm and when he opened his bedroom door he saw people lying on the floor in pools of blood. This man is waiting for a decision on his asylum application.
The two men say they don’t blame Adam for the attack because his sanity had deteriorated sharply. But they have expressed serious concerns about alleged breaches by the Home Office and housing contractor Mears.
Evidence provided to the High Court shows how tensions at the Park Inn hotel developed prior to the attack.
Many asylum seekers have experienced a deterioration in their mental health. Some reported feeling dehumanized by their treatment and said that if they raised concerns about their mental health, they were told to ‘open the window’ or ‘have an orange’, while others had to return to their home country if they didn’t like Britain.
Witnesses to the attack said they were traumatized and some had nightmares, PTSD and flashbacks. The stabbed asylum seeker said he was now afraid to go out and felt abandoned by the Home Office and Mears. The second asylum seeker said they were made to feel like criminals when questioned by police.
He told the Guardian: “I would like asylum seekers to be treated better instead of being held in hotels. I really don’t blame Badreddin for what he did, he was in terrible shape. I blame the Home Office and I blame Mears. They did not listen enough.
Sheroy Zaq, attorneys for Duncan Lewis, who is taking the challenge to the High Court, said: “Vulnerable people continue to die while being housed by the Home Secretary and his associated private contractors, and this will likely continue unless and until lessons are learned. All the plaintiffs ask, which should not be controversial, is that a legal investigation be carried out into such tragedies, contrary to what appears to have happened to date; the Home Secretary noting her own homework through an internal and unpublished review.
Dylan Fotoohi of Refugees For Justice, a group founded after the bombing and interested party in the case, said: “Thousands of people have suffered physical and psychological damage in these hotels. This tragedy was preventable. The underlying cause is the dysfunctional and irresponsible management of the accommodation of asylum seekers. An independent investigation is needed so that lessons can be learned. “
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: ‘Following the incident at the Park Inn hotel, we have ordered an internal review to assess the circumstances, in accordance with routine procedure, but a Scottish investigation into a fatal incident is still ongoing. We take the well-being of those in our care very seriously. “
Scottish Police Deputy Chief Constable Steve Johnson said: ‘The circumstances are being independently investigated by the Police Investigation and Review Commissioner under the direction of the Lord Advocate, we are not therefore not able to comment further. “
Mears has been approached for comment.