Satpal Ram is a young Asian man from Birmingham. One
night in 1986 he was having a quiet meal in a restaurant with his
two friends. Six drunken white people came into the Asian
restaurant. They were all already quite rowdy and racially abusive
to the staff. As the evening went on, they started to hurl more and
more abuse across the restaurant to Satpal and his friends.
Things came to a head when near the end of the evening the
waiters put on some Asian music and Satpal asked one of them to turn
it up because he really liked the song. The white men got angry at
this and shouted "no we don't need any more of this fucking paki
music" and started a fight with Satpal and his friends. During that
fight one of the white men, Clarke Pierce, smashed a glass on the
table and hit Satpal twice across the cheek and across the shoulder.
He then backed Satpal into a corner so that, with a table and walls
behind him, he did not have anywhere else to go.
At this point Satpal was really in fear of his life.
He had already been slashed twice. Because he worked at a
warehouse, Satpal had a little Stanley knife with him and he used
that knife to defend himself. Both his attackers were hurt and the
fight stopped. Satpal went and got treatment for his injuries.
Clarke Pierce went to hospital but he was very abusive to the
medical staff and he pulled out his drips, saying he did not want to
be treated by a woman doctor. He discharged himself and went home,
where he later died.
Here began the appalling treatment of Satpal by the criminal
Satpal was charged with the murder of Clarke Pierce. His
barrister did not meet with him and only saw him for about 40
minutes before the trial. The barrister decided to change the plea
from self-defence to provocation. He also did not bring out the
details of what happened at the restaurant in court. In fact most of
the evidence which was heard came from friends of Clarke Pierce.
Unsurprisingly, the all-white jury convicted Satpal of murder within
about half an hour. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison where he
remains 13 years later.
Partly because Satpal has been challenging his conviction all
these years, he has had a particularly hard time in prison. He has,
again and again, been beaten and often starved. He has
been repeatedly strip-searched. He has spent large amounts of
time in segregation, in solitary confinement. He has
had his bedding taken away for large amounts of time. He has
progressively lost weight. When his relatives visit, he wears three
or four shirts so that they don't go home to tell his mother that he
is just fading away.
The prison authorities are simply torturing him for standing up
When Satpal has complained about the kind of treatment he has
received, he is the one that has been put up on a disciplinary
charge for attacking prison officers.
Satpal is still challenging his initial conviction 13 years
later. He maintains to this day that he is innocent.
SATPAL RAM UPDATE: 2nd April 2001
On the 2nd March, at HMP Wellingborough, Satpal Ram was stripped
and segregated by prison officers in riot gear with shields
following an incident at the prison where another prisoner had
barricaded himself into his cell. When Satpal Ram protested to being
moved to another block whilst they 'dealt' with this prisoner, the
officers attacked him.
On the 5th March, after spending two days in solitary
confinement, Satpal Ram was moved back to HMP Blakenhurst, where
they told him that he had lost his Cat "C" status and that he had
been moved back to Cat "B". The prison officers who know of Satpal
Ram and who know that he's got a parole decision being made soon on
whether he is eligible for release or not, will use any excuse to
attack him to jeopardize this process. This is because the brother
in law of Clarke Pearce is a prison officer at HMP Winsen Green and
tries constantly to prevent Satpal from challenging his conviction.
By being violent towards him via a network of corrupt prison
officers Satpal Ram himself is perceived as a dangerous man in the
name of the law (the Parole Board) and is deemed not fit for
release. The parole process began a year and a half ago and is still
pending today. It is a process that usually takes from six to nine
Satpal Ram also continues to wait for the Criminal Case Review
Commission to make their decision on whether to send his case back
to the Court of Appeal or not. They have now delayed their decision
until mid June.
Anyone wishing to contact Satpal can do so by writing to the
Satpal Ram (E94-164)
Worcs B97 6QS
Deeder Zaman + Lesley Naylor
Free Satpal Ram Campaign
For more information contact the NCRM or: