Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'There Will Be More Prison Race Murders'; Victim's Family Speak out on Eve of Inquiry Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'There Will Be More Prison Race Murders'; Victim's Family Speak out on Eve of Inquiry Report

Article excerpt

Byline: AMAR SINGH

THE family of a teenager murdered by his racist cellmate in a young offender institution warned today of more deaths unless there is reform of the prison service.

Zahid Mubarek, 19, was battered to death with a table leg by Robert Stewart, a known racist and psychopath.

The attack happened just hours before the victim was due to be released from Feltham Young Offender Institution in March 2000.

The report from a two-year inquiry into the death is due to be published tomorrow.

It is expected to expose an " institutionally racist" culture within the prison service, with black inmates feeling they were stereotyped as aggressive and violent and ethnic minority prisoners being given harsher treatment and fewer privileges than white prisoners.

Mr Justice Keith, who chaired the inquiry, is expected to blame managers, naming individuals who made mistakes, and to outline reforms.

Today, Mr Mubarek's uncle, Imtiaz Amin, 36, from Walthamstow, said: "There are many problems and Zahid's case has highlighted these failures. Prisons are just churning out serial criminals and now with more Muslims in jail it is an even more pertinent issue.

"It's bad enough being black in these places but if you are black and Muslim you are a target. How long will it be before another person suffers the same fate?"

Among the practices the report is set to expose is the game of "gladiator" or "coliseum", in which prison staff put inmates in cells with known racists and bet on how long it will take for violence to break out. The inquiry heard this was a possible explanation for why Mr Mubarek and Stewart were put in the same cell.

Mr Amin, who quit his job in IT six years ago to campaign for the inquiry into his nephew's death, said: "We want and expect the report to outline all the failings that occurred to create the circumstances which led to Zahid's death and for them to be taken into consideration when the recommendations are put forward. …

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