LONDON, England – A death of an elderly man identified as a Canadian who died in handcuffs in British custody has sparked questions about the treatment of immigration detainees.
The death of the man is getting considerable attention in British media, and several outlets have identified him as a Canadian named Alois Dvorzac.
The case has prompted an investigation by Britain’s prisons and probation ombudsman.
The British newspaper The Telegraph quotes Britain’s Chief Inspector of Prisons as saying Dvorzac was one of several cases where the use of restraints was “grossly excessive.”
Nick Hardwick said the 84-year-old man was restrained in handcuffs for five hours before his death in February, 2013.
The Telegraph says Hardwick’s report indicates the cuffs were only taken off after Dvorzac suffered cardiac arrest and medics were called in.
According to the Telegraph, Dvorzac had been refused entry to the UK and after a hospital stay in which a doctor described him as frail and declared him unfit for detention.
The newspaper said an attempt to deport Dvorzac had been postponed when he was declared medically unfit to fly.
He was sent to the privately-run Harmondsworth immigration detention centre in west London where he was held in handcuffs.
The Guardian newspaper quotes British immigration minister Mark Harper as saying the use of restraints for Dvorzac appears to be completely unjustified and should not happen again.
It’s not clear where in Canada Dvorzac is from.