Zahid Mubarek – Still No Justice

Zahid Mubarek

The inquiry into the murder of Asian teenager Zahid Mubarek by a racist cell-mate will this week name at least two officials who have since been promoted and highlight a ‘lack of accountability’ over the killing, The Observer can reveal. Sources who have seen the report by Mr Justice Keith said it goes into detail about individual errors or oversights and criticises management failures.

The former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Lord Ramsbotham, yesterday denounced the way the incident was handled. He said that, instead of resisting an independent inquiry until ordered to hold one by the House of Lords, the government should have ‘suspended a number of the relevant staff at once’, including the people who had placed Mubarek in the same cell as a known racist. The officers responsible at Feltham young offenders’ institution, west London, where the murder took place, should also have been suspended.

Having earlier issued stinging criticisms of Feltham, where Mubarek was murdered hours before he was to have been freed in 2000, Ramsbotham said: ‘It was a tragedy waiting to happen.’ He added: ‘I find it totally extraordinary that no one has been made accountable.’
(Source: The Observer)

It’s six years now since Zahid Mubarek was murdered by his cellmate. His killer, Robert Stewart, was a known racist. Why were they placed in the same cell the night before Mubarek was due to be released?

I doubt it was simply an oversight.

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to live in and pay my taxes to a country with an institutionally racist police force and legal system, a country quite happy to take my money but not so eager to accord me the same rights as its white citizens. A country where, if I were arrested, I could easily die in the manner of Zahid Mubarek and the people responsible would be rewarded with lovely promotions.

Increasingly, I can’t think of a good answer.