Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Saturday, 6 September 2008 10:32 UK

Mystery foreigner kept in prison

New Peterborough prison
The man has completed his sentence at HMP Peterborough

A foreign inmate of a British jail is being kept in prison despite completing his sentence because he refuses to tell the authorities where he comes from.

The man, an inmate at HMP Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, completed his sentence for wounding two years ago.

His case is highlighted in a report by the prison's Independent Monitoring Board (IMB).

The Prison Service said that prisoners who refuse to say where they are from can be held until this is discovered.

He was originally serving a six-year sentence for wounding with intent and a concurrent two-year sentence for aggravated burglary.

He cannot be deported without the necessary paperwork and could remain at the prison indefinitely.

'Unusual situation'

It is estimated it could be costing about 30,000 a year to house him.

Alessio Beschizza, chairman of HMP Peterborough's IMB said he could not see an end to the "unusual" situation.

He said: "He is refusing to give the authorities any information about himself and there is nothing that can be done.

"We don't even know if the name he has been giving is correct and he will not confirm his nationality.

"He has been due for deportation since he completed his sentence almost two years ago, but the prison has no choice but to hold him until we get the information.

"He could well be in there indefinitely, unless someone takes his case up and it goes through the courts, but I can't see that happening."

A Prison Service spokesperson said: "Prisoners who refuse to engage with the UK Borders Agency and will not disclose their country of origin may be held until such a time as their identity can be confirmed."


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