NEW questions have been raised about the treatment of asylum seekers in Glasgow as an independent probe into an asylum seeker "accommodation crisis" was demanded after the Park Inn hotel knife attack on Friday.

The homelessness charity Positive Action In Housing, which is among those calling for immediate asylum seekers to be immediately returned to residential accommodation.

And they demanded a full, "fully accountable" inquiry into the Home Office procurement processes which led to "this deadly accommodation crisis" and the use of hotel detention.

Six people were stabbed,  including 42-year-old Constable David Whyte - and the attacker Badreddin Abadlla Adam (below) was shot dead by police in the incident at the Park Inn hotel in West George Street on Friday.

Asylum seeker supporters say Mr Adam, was "neglected,
humiliated, and isolated" and was "distressed the night before the incident".

According to Refugees for Justice he  expressed his anger and frustration to other asylum seekers in the hotel and this was reported to hotel staff.

"We believe he could still be alive, and this devastating tragedy could have been prevented. We are presenting you with the simple facts coming directly from asylum seekers and refugees who we speak to, who have been trapped in those hotel rooms for months now,"  they said.

READ MORE: Park Inn attack: Home Office says move to put asylum seekers in Glasgow hotels was for 'safety reasons'


Park Inn was among those being used to house asylum seekers at the time in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mears Group, which has the Home Office contract to house asylum seekers in Glasgow has been heavily criticised for its decision to move around 400 to hotels claiming it was necessary because of problems securing lets during the lockdown, which campaigners say had put the physical and mental health of asylum seekers at risk.

Mears, however, insisted on Wednesday, two days before the Park Inn attack it had kept people safe from Covid-19, claiming the “unprecedented arrangements” it made during the pandemic are “proving effective”.

They invited politicians last week to invite them to a briefing about the situation and said on Wednesday  that asylum seekers would be returning to individual accommodation from next week.

Charities and MPs have questioned the decision to place people in hotels during the pandemic.

At her daily briefing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish government was in contact with the Home Office about the attack.

"We're considering what further lessons need to be learned from what happened on Friday," she added.

READ MORE: Mears breaks silence over bloodbath at Glasgow hotel it used to house asylum seekers

The issues, campaigners say the inquiry should look into include the decision to move asylum seekers from homes to hotels during lockdown "where social distancing was impossible, thereby creating potential hotspots of virus outbreaks all over Glasgow and jeopardising public health".

Glasgow South West MP, Chris Stephens MP said: "In general terms we have been concerned for weeks regarding the treatment of asylum seekers in our city.   The Home Office must now step up. "

He said an investigation was needed to "restore the trust of politicians, support organisations and asylum seekers".

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon warns Scotland won't be 'dragged' into decisions amid air bridges row

HeraldScotland: Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens

He added: "We must now also demand that the Home Office, consult with support organisations and Glasgow City Council, on an exit plan to ensure that asylum seekers can be moved out of hotels and placed in suitable accommodation.

"This week we are demanding a meeting with Ministers to addresses these and many other outstanding questions."

Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss added: "I do not seek to draw conclusions from the awful events of this week; that is for Police Scotland to investigate in the immediate term.

“Throughout my time as an MP, I have been raising concerns about the treatment of my asylum-seeking constituents by the UK Home Office. They have survived circumstances none of us could imagine, only to be treated with a culture of disbelief from a complex immigration system, and a hostile environment which makes their daily lives incredibly hard.

“The coronavirus lockdown has plunged many asylum seekers into a further state of uncertainty and despair. From the start, it has been unacceptable that people were removed from their homes with little notice, to hotels where social distancing was difficult.

"Removal of the meagre support payment has also limited the ability of asylum seekers to have any control over their lives. It is deeply concerning that this has gone on now for months, despite repeated concerns being raised by the council, MSPs, MPs, and support organisations. 


"“The Home Office must take responsibility for the wellbeing of all asylum seekers currently being accommodated in hotels in Glasgow. Support payments must be reinstated immediately. I ask that a plan is put in place to work with asylum seekers to organise, in an orderly and sensitive manner, their move back to accommodation they can call home.”

A press conference held by the charity heard that some of the asylum seekers staying there were "desperate and vulnerable". The asylum seekers said they were crammed into hotel rooms - many of them with no windows and no fresh air.

They also said they had been unable to leave those rooms and were in a dire mental situation.

The horrifying attack at Park Inn came after there were protests in George Square, just five minutes walk from the hotel, about the treatment of asylum seekers.

Protests were held on Glasgow’s streets during lockdown to protest at the treatment of asylum seekers in the hotels, left with no money and complains over the quality of food.

On Wednesday, last week, No Evictions Glasgow accused "far-right groups" of trying to "hi-jack" their peaceful demonstration.

A lack of social distancing, poor-quality food and no drinking water were reported by those staying at hotels after weekly financial support was removed.

On Wednesday, last week, Mears, said it did not recognise some of the concerns and said there was a “disconnect” between the worries of some campaigners and what they were being told from those in hotels.

Mears, which was awarded the £1bn government contract in 2019,  admitted it was a “blanket decision” to move all asylum seekers out of their homes into hotels in March after lockdown was announced.

After a media briefing on Wednesday,  a spokesperson for Mears stated that chief operating officer, John Taylor had been wrong to state that assessments were not carried out prior to moving asylum seekers into hotels.

Mr Taylor said that once asylum seekers had been moved into hotels it became “obvious” that this setting “wasn’t appropriate” for some people, including pregnant women, people who had suffered trafficking and family groups, and that action was then taken to identify these groups and “safely” move them back out of the hotels and into smaller properties.

He said that all those currently in the asylum system would be housed, saying: “No one is going to be homeless, that is absolutely clear.”

He acknowledged that “anyone living in a hotel for three months is going to find that challenging” but insisted he “didn’t recognise” complaints about mouldy food, saying Mears workers had talked to residents on a daily basis.

Mr Taylor said: "Organisations have an agenda to campaign against the asylum system, we recognise that."

He added: “People have a right to demonstrate. Conditions in hotels are not terrible. There is a disconnect between what we are doing and what people think we are doing.”

He added during the press briefing: “We needed to make a decision, so we made the decision, rightly or wrongly, to move everyone from the initial accommodation apartments into hotels, and that was a blanket decision, because we felt that we could assess and support people better in that setting."

On the cash and food Mears said that because the people were being provided with all food and essential items, the Home Office rules are they do not receive the £35 a week payment.

It said it worked to change menus where it was necessary following complaints.

It said it will not pursue lock changes after its predecessor Serco, was roundly condemned for threatening 300 with destitution.

Mr Taylor said: “We would never turn up with a locksmith”. He said if someone had been refused asylum and was not longer entitled to support, they would work with them to ask where they want to go."

Mears came under scrutiny after the death of Adnan Olbeh, a Syrian asylum seeker who was found dead in a room in McLay's Hotel, Glasgow last month.

At the time, Ms Qureshi urged Home Secretary Priti Patel to act to avoid further harm. She described the treatment of asylum seekers during the pandemic as "beyond comprehension".

She told Ms Patel she must act to alleviate the hardship caused by the lockdown changes "before a further tragedy occurs".

She said: "There are many other 'Adnans' living in these hotels. This would go some way to ease the hardship they are currently suffering."