'Sudanese asylum seeker' found dead at London hotel, sparking protests

'Sudanese asylum seeker' found dead at London hotel, sparking protests
Friends of the asylum seeker found dead on Sunday are angered by the UK government's handling of the case.
3 min read
19 July, 2021
Protestors held signs saying 'Refugee Lives Matter' outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel [Getty]

An asylum seeker thought to be from Sudan was found dead at a hotel near London's Heathrow Airport on Sunday, according to police reports. 

The man, in his 20s, was pronounced dead at the scene in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The UK's Home Office uses the hotel to accommodate asylum seekers

The police were notified about the incident shortly before 1am on 18 July by the London Ambulance Service, the Metropolitan Police Service told The New Arab. 

"The man's death is not being treated as suspicious," read a statement from the Met. "Steps are being taken to inform his next of kin." 

Further information on the incident will not be available until an inquest, they said. 

Shocked by the death of the young asylum seeker, protesters gathered outside the hotel on Sunday, holding signs that read  'Refugee Lives Matter' and 'Asylum seekers are human beings'. 

"Something is not right. Because we are sad, that is why we came out here," said one protestor, an asylum seeker being accomodated at the hotel.

"We are here in deepest sadness that...[this] morning...our brother, he's found dead in his room [on] the third floor." 

The refugee had been living in the UK for four months after spending several months sleeping under a bridge in Calais, according to reports by The Guardian

UK charity Care4Calais published a statement on the incident on Sunday which said: "We are heartbroken to report the death of a young man from Sudan who was living in a London hotel visited by our volunteers. 

"Having survived unknown horrors in his home country, and a gruelling journey to get here in search of safety, it is devastating to hear that it is in the UK that he met his end."

The charity said their volunteers are supporting his friends during this difficult time, who claimed they have not received information about his death or what will happen to his body. 

A UK Home Office spokesperson said: "We are truly saddened to hear of the death of an individual in asylum accommodation.  The health and wellbeing of asylum seekers will always be our priority.

"We are working closely with a range of organisations to ensure immediate support and assistance is provided to people living in the accommodation who have been affected by this tragic death and await further information from the Metropolitan police as to the findings of their ongoing investigation."

Twenty-nine asylum seekers lost their lives in UK Home Office accommodation last year, five times the number who died on small boat crossings across the English channel during the same period, reported The Justice Gap