Content warning: torture.
This contribution comes from the Life After Detention group (LAD) based in Glasgow and facilitated by Scottish Detainee Visitors. Between them, members of LAD have lost 4 years and 8 months of their lives to detention. The first part, ‘Because of Detention’, reflects on the ongoing devastation caused by indefinite detention. The second, ‘In spite of detention’, highlights the more positive aspects of building a life after detention, though still in the shadow of it.
Because of detention
Because of detention I have lost my way forever
Because of detention I experienced fear, disrespect, feeling absolutely hopeless, pressure, sadness, sickness and some kind of disability that I never had felt in all my life
Because of detention I was always waiting, waiting, waiting…
Because in detention male officers came and looked at us at night, I can’t sleep, I’m scared
Because of detention my future is broken
Because of detention my family is broken. My relationship didn’t survive and now I only see my son twice a month
Because of detention I am a nervous wreck, terrified of the authorities.
Because of detention my life changed. Not knowing when I would get out took away my mental health, my confidence, my hope
Because of detention I lost all my belongings, including the only photos I had of my late father
Because of detention, I am sick; really really sick. I am not who I was three years ago
Because of detention I was constantly reminded of the torture in prison in my own country
Because of detention I can’t sleep for a week before signing at the Home Office in Glasgow
Because of detention I am always terrified of being detained again
The 10 people in our group were detained for a total of four years and eight months.
That is 1,709 days that none of us can get back again.
41,000 hours of life, simply, lost.
And for what?
In spite of detention
In spite of detention, I found my partner and feel I have been given a good life. We’ll get married. Now I have a gift from God. It’s a little angel.
I like learning English.
I have a diamond on my finger!
In spite of detention, my life is good. I keep myself busy. I volunteer every week, go to English classes and attend church on Sundays.
When I go to the Home Office to sign I am scared, as I remember detention; this stops me sleeping at night
Life in detention is very hard. Life after detention is good, if the Home Office don’t put you back again
In spite of detention I go to college. I like studying
I like to meet people in Glasgow
I water tomatoes
I go to church
I like to drink a lot of tea
I feed frogs!
In spite of detention I have made new friends; we share food and stories. We laugh. I see people building a new life despite everything; I see strength, bravery and determination
In spite of detention I now I go to different social groups like LAD. I have made many friends. God blessed me with two beautiful daughters. They are my whole asset. I have built up a family life stronger than ever before.
In spite of detention I volunteer with three charities
I go for walks in the park
I meet new people in Glasgow
I am going to make a new life for myself
I have plans to be successful
In spite of detention, my friends have regained their smile
They have managed to start a life in Glasgow
They found hope again
They fell in love with Scotland
Detention made me stronger than before. I now have confidence to deal with people; to deal with everything