Adnan Walid Elbi, a 30 year old Syrian refugee, died in Room 50 of the Maclays Hotel, Glasgow. Post-mortem results are still awaited. Documentation provided to us showed that he had been begging for help due to his deteriorating mental health after being put into a hotel and suffering stomach problems because of the food in the hotel and not being able to cook for himself. The donations raised were meant to pay for the funeral costs, however, the Glasgow Central Mosque donated their fee to the widowed mother of Adnan, who remains in Syria, along with the remaining donations raised by Positive Action in Housing for the family.
Had we not broken this story, no one would know Mercy Baguma’s name today. Neither the Home Office, Mears nor Police Scotland had issued a statement about her death. We had to piece bare information together. Mercy Baguma was found dead by Police Scotland in the hallway of her flat in Kennedar Drive in Govan, while her baby son was discovered in his cot clutching an empty milk bottle, malnourished as a result of having not eaten for several days between 18 and 22 August. Mercy and her baby were under the care of the Home Office. According to her former partner, Eric, she was due to be moved by the Mears Group, and he was prevented from knowing if she had moved, because of Mears policy of not telling asylum seekers where they are being moved until they are physically being transported to the new accommodation.
We continue to be concerned about the apparent failure of risk checks by Mears when moving human beings into accommodation, and the failure of the Home Office to do any kind of investigation into these tragic incidents.
A positive outcome of the charity’s leading involvement in this case is that the publicity led to Baby Adriel and his father Eric being granted asylum within weeks, after PM Boris Johnson agreed to intervene in their asylum claim. Positive Action in Housing organised an appeal which raised £75K for the future education and welfare of Mercy’s baby son Adriel. Funds totalling £8,190 from this appeal were used to pay for repatriation and funeral costs in Uganda. The remainder of funds were placed in a separate and independent trust for Baby Ariel's future welfare and education.
The asylum crisis in Glasgow has been an ongoing concern for our charity since 2001, and especially since Covid restrictions came into effect. This being the third tragedy in Glasgow’s refugee community in less than 4 months, we reiterate our call for a public inquiry. This is supported by Scottish MPs, the First Minister of Scotland and over 3,250 organisations and individuals from all of civic society.