Detainee 001 has made up his mind to go back to Algeria, taking his young family with him rather than endure the appalling conditions of being imprisoned without charge. Although his wife is terribly upset by this decision she is unable to change his mind.
Hhugs volunteers recently visited the family and this is their first hand account.
“I and two other volunteers paid Detainee 001's wife a visit to see how she was getting on. The conditions in which her and her 3 small children under the age of 5 live in are absolutely despicable. She uses toys at the top of the stairs to prevent her 9 month old son from falling. We saw how her sofas and chairs had been ripped apart presumably with a knife when the Police raided her home and arrested her husband. It was awful to see the stuffing of the chairs pulled out and worst of all the springs sticking out; highly dangerous conditions for 3 small children! How shocking that this family was left in such a state! Some kind volunteers donated a new sofa set for her so that she and her children could live safely without being hurt.
She lost her Post Office card for child benefit and was unsure of what to do. As a result she ran out of money for food and spent many days without food for her children. Hhugs organised for food and shopping to be taken to her immediately for which she was very grateful.
Every time she visits her husband in prison, she cannot bear to leave and come back to London . She wishes to stay with him. I was quite concerned about her psychological state. One time after visiting her husband she informed me that she no longer wished to visit him as coming back caused too much anguish for her and the children as they would cry because they wanted to stay with him. Also, they have put her husband in a prison on the other side of the country far away from the family. Travelling long distances with such young kids is adding to the stress and anguish. Anyway, I managed to convince her that she and the kids must keep visiting husband regularly as this is one of the only things he has to look forward to She has since changed her mind and HHUGS volunteers are give up their whole day to drive her and the children to the prison and back.
She is very isolated. She doesn't go out much and will not let the children out of her sight. As a result her children do not go to Nursery nor do they interact with other children. They need a father figure.”
Account of a Hhugs volunteer.