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Friday, 5 October, 2001, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Judge details race killing decision
Zahid Mubarek
Mr Mubarek was beaten to death in his cell
A High Court judge is to explain in detail his decision to call for an independent investigation into the race killing of Zahid Mubarek at a young offenders' institute.

The 19-year-old was placed in a cell at Feltham Young Offenders' Institute, with a violent racist who then battered him to death.

On Friday Mr Justice Hooper was preparing to give details of his ruling in which he is demanding an inquiry into how and why Mr Mubarek was killed.

Only a thorough-going independent investigation will tell us how Zahid Mubarek was, in effect, sentenced to death

Juliet Lyon, Prison Reform Trust
It comes after his decision last month, which proved an embarrassing defeat for Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Mr Mubarek was a first offender, who was serving three months for theft at the west London institution.

The High Court decision came in a case brought by his family, after he was killed by skinhead Robert Stewart, a hardened offender.

Stewart, known as "Spliffy" to prison officers, has been diagnosed as a psychopath.

'Sentenced to death'

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust said, after the ruling in September: "Only a thorough-going independent investigation will tell us how Zahid Mubarek was, in effect, sentenced to death.

"He was placed in a cell with a racist, mentally-ill young man in a profoundly unsafe institution."

She made it clear Mr Mubarek was sentenced to custody for a "comparatively minor offence".

Mr Mubarek's killer Robert Stewart
Robert Stewart: Psychopath
Mr Mubarek's family still cannot understand how the young victim had been forced to share a cell with Stewart, also aged 19.

They were both on Feltham's Swallow wing for the six weeks leading up to his murder in March 2000.

Amnesty International has cited the Mubarek case as an example of "widespread" racism in British prisons.

In September, Mr Justice Hooper ruled that Imtiaz Amin, the dead youth's uncle, was entitled to a declaration that Mr Blunkett must hold an independent investigation.

'Effective inquiry'

He explained such an inquiry would fulfil Mr Blunkett's obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights to arrange "an effective inquiry" into the tragedy.

Last July, the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Sir David Ramsbotham, said Feltham should be privatised because of its widespread problems.

He also condemned the attitude to the institute by the local branch of the Prison Officers' Association as "absolutely intolerable".

Mr Ramsbotham said he believed the trade union had prevented any chance of real change at the unit.

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