British man stuck in immigration detention six months after release from jail

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Bicutan detention centre
Keven Taylor and his wife Charlene in happier times.

A British man released from prison last September is still languishing in the Bureau of Immigration’s Bicutan detention centre waiting to be deported. 

Keven Taylor, aged 53, was found guilty of running a recruitment scam in 2014 — five years after he was first locked up on suspicion of the crime that he has consistently denied.

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As we reported in November last year, his Filipina wife Charlene, 39, was optimistic of a speedy return to his family in the English town of Swindon. “He is very happy, very excited to be coming home,” she said.

However, despite these hopes, he remains locked up in the notoriously crowded and corrupt detention centre in Taguig City. 

This week, his father has spoken to the Swindon Advertiser about the family’s frustration, and urged the UK government to “pull its finger out” and get his son home.

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Speaking to the local newspaper, Mr Taylor, 78, said: “Kevin’s out of jail now. He’s been a free man for six months. Why are they keeping a free man locked up?”

Kevin was arrested in 2009 on fraud charges together with his wife, who have three children together, and held for more than five years without trial. The pair, who ran a recruitment firm, were eventually convicted of defrauding Filipino jobseekers with promises of employment in the UK. 

Having endured his prison ordeal, and officially been released, things have only got worse.

Mr Taylor said: “He was better off in jail, because he was getting fed and he had accommodation. Here, he’s got nothing like that.”

Since being held at Bicutan, Kevin’s health had deteriorated. He suffers from poor mental health, scabies and is blind in one eye.

The family has written to UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, calling on him to do more to secure Kevin’s release.

Mr Taylor said: “We’re trying to get the powers that be to pull their finger out and do something for us – not leave us out on a limb all the time.

“It could be a year, it could be two years. All we get from the embassy and the Foreign Office is, ‘We can’t interfere with other countries’ laws.’”

Mr Taylor and his wife, Mary, have not seen their son in 15 years, he said. The impact on the couple of Kevin’s latest period of detention had been traumatic: “We don’t know what will happen next.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: “Our consular staff continue to support a British man detained in the Philippines, regularly checking on his welfare, as well as keeping in touch on the phone in between visits. We are also in contact with his family and continue to raise his deportation with the Filipino authorities, who are responsible for carrying it out.”

In February 2015, we reported on how the couple had been given a false hope of release following a Papal visit to the Philippines. To mark the occasion, the government announced that 200 presidential pardons would be granted as a gift to the Pope.

Despite being told his case was being considered on health grounds, Kevin was not among those released.

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