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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 September, 2003, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Bid to free Dungavel children
Money raised could also be used for potential legal action
Campaigners against the detention of children at the Dungavel centre have started a fundraising campaign to get more families released on bail.

Prominent members of the arts community have also pledged to raise the issue on the international stage.

Award winning actors, writers and directors attended the launch of the fund - including Peter Mullan, David Hayman and Gary Lewis, who starred in Billy Elliot.

They have promised to raise the issues surrounding Dungavel when attending premieres and arts festivals.

Campaigners say about 23 children are being held at the centre at present but they hope to raise enough money to get them out.

The fund has been set up by the anti-racist charity Positive Action in Housing, who are also asking for offers of accommodation from the public.

Filmmaker Peter Mullan said the campaign had his full support.

"I'd like be able to highlight this monstrosity of Dungavel and the shame it has brought on our country as much as possible," he said.

Peter Mullan
Peter Mullan was among several celebrities lending their support
Actor Gary Lewis, added: "When you encounter something like this on your own doorstep, it is vital to make a response."

Aamar Anwar, anti-Dungavel campaigner and lawyer, accused the Home Office of operating a "barbaric policy".

He said: "The Home Office asks for several thousand pounds worth of money to release children and their families from Dungavel.

"These families don't have that money but we intend to raise it for them through this bail fund, and also offer bail addresses for families to stay at so they have an alternative to detention."

There are also calls for the arts community to raise money for potential legal action against the Scottish Executive and Home office to stop the future detention of families.

The BBC's Christine McCormick
"Campaigners hope to get families freed on bail"

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