RT: It impressed a controversial gangster rap album illicitly recorded inside its partitions. It’s also called Britain’s Guantanamo Bay and Hellmarsh.
The opposite fortresses housing the nation’s most harmful offenders are relics from Victorian instances resembling HMP Dartmoor in Devon, HMP Pentonville in North London and HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow.
Belmarsh, in distinction, was opened in 1991 and was the primary new males’s jail constructed within the capital for greater than a century. It’s situated in a historic a part of South-East London, the previous Royal Arsenal, the place all of the British armed forces’ munitions have been as soon as manufactured, and can be minutes from the well-known River Thames.
The encircling space is a mixture of industrial and residential area, and there are not any imposing visitors restrictions, so it’s simple for commuters to move by with out realizing it’s there.
Nevertheless, they may definitely pay attention to its roll of dishonour, with a string of high-profile inmates detained there through the years. At present, Julian Assange is by far Belmarsh’s most well-known inhabitant, behind bars as he awaits a call on his potential extradition to the USA.
Amongst Britain’s most infamous criminals who’ve been held there are armed robber Charles Bronson, who has turn out to be well-known for threatening and attacking fellow prisoners.
Considered one of his most weird escapades occurred in Belmarsh when an Iraqi hijacker ran into him and didn’t apologise. Bronson stewed over revenge and finally took two different Iraqi hijackers hostage, together with one other inmate, who he subsequently let go. However he saved the Iraqis, ordered them to tickle his ft and demanded secure passage to Libya in change for his or her launch. Evidently, that didn’t occur – and Bronson was handed an extra 5 years.
Others who’ve hung out in Belmarsh embrace Britain’s most well-known Islamist terrorists Anjem Choudary and the previous Imam of Finsbury Park mosque, hook-handed Abu Hamza, plus Ronnie Biggs who carried out the Nice Practice Theft and escaped jail in 1965, spending the subsequent 36 years on the run publicly in Australia and Rio de Janeiro earlier than returning to Britain – and Belmarsh.
Hashem Abedi, brother of the Ariana Grande live performance bomber – and who helped plan the assault – was one other who began jail life in Belmarsh, the place he assaulted a guard, explaining to a Justice of the Peace, “I did assault that filthy pig, however I don’t see any wrongdoing in that.”
One of many newest additions to the present Belmarsh roster is Wayne Couzens, who is predicted to by no means be launched after being given a full life sentence. He’s the police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, after falsely detaining her utilizing Covid-19 protocols.
One other not anticipated to ever emerge from behind Belmarsh’s partitions is the infamous Stephen Port. He’s higher generally known as ‘The Grindr Killer’, after drugging, raping and murdering 4 males he had met on-line.
Oddly, Port dumped the our bodies close to his home in East London after which selected to name the emergency providers to report them. His crimes have already been changed into a TV collection that’s set to be launched quickly.
Belmarsh additionally homes one of many killers of a heinous crime that occurred only some miles from the jail. Lee Rigby was an off-duty British Military soldier who was hacked to demise in broad daylight by two males brandishing cleavers, as he walked to his barracks in close by Woolwich.
The murderers – Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale – claimed they needed to avenge the deaths of Muslims by the hands of the military, and handed horrified members of the general public a written justification for the assault whereas asking onlookers to name the police to come back and arrest them.
The ringleader Adebolajo was given a complete life order and isn’t anticipated to ever get parole, whereas his companion Adebowale was moved from Belmarsh to a high-security psychiatric hospital.
Together with that forged, the likes of far-right chief Tommy Robinson and best-selling novelist and former Conservative Social gathering deputy chairman Jeffrey Archer, who dedicated perjury, have additionally hung out there. Archer even wrote of his experiences within the jail in a e book revealingly referred to as ‘Belmarsh: Hell’.
The prolonged record of infamous names is staggering within the context of its 910-capacity. However what has performed an excellent better function in cementing the jail’s fearsome picture is the 48-capacity Excessive Safety Unit (HSU).
To enter the HSU takes 4 minutes alone, as officers initially scrutinise a person’s face by way of distant cameras. No two doorways within the unit may be open on the identical time. It’s primarily a jail inside a jail that homes a few of Belmarsh’s most well-known inmates.
As one of many unit managers defined, “We get a number of high-profile prisoners, and prisoners who’ve the means and capability to flee. The kind of prisoner we’ve got here’s a lot totally different to the kind of prisoner within the regular jail. The prisoners right here have the means and talent to attain the outcomes prisoners some other place wouldn’t.”
Employees can solely work within the HSU for a most of three years, so there’s much less of an opportunity to bond or share private data with the lads they’re guarding. They’re even given coaching to identify indicators of manipulation, because the convicts are adept at exploiting weak factors.
Prisoners solely spend two months in a cell earlier than being moved, so there isn’t any likelihood to cover something. And though they’re allowed outdoors, even that space is roofed by a steel mesh roof, so they’re nonetheless absolutely contained.
Misbehaviour isn’t tolerated. Rule breaking sees inmates both saved of their cell for 23 hours a day – usually it’s 12 hours – or if issues worsen, they go in ‘the field’. That may be a room with nothing in any respect, besides a Perspex window.
It’s an intense regime, however in all probability explains why nobody has ever dedicated suicide contained in the HSU, because the inmates merely don’t go lengthy sufficient unsupervised to try it.
The opposite prisoners outdoors the HSU by no means see or come into contact with their extra controversial colleagues and even the guards are saved fully separate.
It means, in essence, that Belmarsh is a Matryoshka doll – a tricky, chilly surroundings for anybody who enters its doorways that will get more and more extra repressive for many who have a profile.
There’s one piece of sunshine on the horizon on this bleak and soul-destroying surroundings, although, as Assange has been granted permission to marry his companion Stella Moris – a uncommon second of celebration contained in the jail.
Moris stated, “Now we have spoken to the Belmarsh chaplain providers about it and so they stated they haven’t seen a marriage in Belmarsh for so long as they’ve been there, which is 12 years.”
Bringing a second of pleasure to Hellmarsh looks like Mission Unattainable, however given the inhabitants of terrorists, murderers and rapists, Assange might be the almost certainly man to do it.