Rory Stewart OBE MP,

Minister of State for Justice,

Penrith and Borders Conservative Association,

31 Chiswick Street,


Dear Mr Stewart,

Open letter: your confirmation that Melanie Shaw is a political prisoner

In my letter to you of 31 May (dated, in error, 24 May), I listed three conclusions which a reasonable person might draw from the government’s handling of Melanie Shaw’s case, and stated that, should I receive no response from you which offered a reasonable challenge to these conclusions, I would assume that you, personally, admitted them to be correct. Three weeks later, I have received no response from you whatsoever. I take this as confirmation that the statements offered for your denial are correct, and that:

1 no reasonable justification can be offered for Melanie’s prolonged incarceration and inhumane treatment;

2 she is, in fact, a political prisoner;

3 the Government is hiding behind the Data Protection Act in order to protect interests other than those of law-abiding British subjects.

A document stating clearly that Melanie should have been released on 2 June, 2018, is now in the public domain. In flagrant disregard for the rule of law, she remains in prison, while friends who ring HMP Styal to ask why she is still there, and whether she is even alive, are fobbed off with the usual data protection nonsense which you have admitted is designed to protect interests other than those of law-abiding British subjects. Your admission that Melanie is, in fact, a political prisoner presumably explains why.

This is an open letter, and will be circulated freely.

Yours sincerely,

Gillian Swanson

Enc: letter to David Gauke dated 20 June, 2018



Dear Mr Gauke,

Open letter: continuing imprisonment of Melanie Shaw

Further to my letter to you dated 15 April, 2018, please find enclosed photographs of a document stating that Melanie should be released on 2 June, 2018.

This date is long past. Melanie has not been released. Why not ? Please do not brush this question aside with a wave of the Data Protection Act.

Melanie’s friends are growing increasingly concerned at her silence over past months. Numerous people have written to her in prison, and have received no reply. When asked when she will be released, or even for confirmation that she is alive and well, prison staff have refused to give any answers. Instead, they make the absurd claim that their refusal to reassure callers is “for her own safety”. A reasonable person can only conclude that once a vulnerable whistleblower has been swallowed up in the British prison system enquiries regarding his or her welfare are now interpreted as a threat. A threat, one might ask, to whom ?

Melanie’s treatment has breached all the assumptions of those who thought they were living under the rule of law. Her trial took place in secret: therefore justice was not seen to be done. She emerged from Sodexo’s private prison in Peterborough on crutches (see photograph enclosed, showing the state of her leg after she had been denied suitable medical care). She has been stripped naked and terrorised at times by rogue prison staff in riot gear. She has been denied the medication she needs as a result of repeated rape and mistreatment while in state care as a child and young adult. She has been kept in solitary confinement for most of her sentence, in direct defiance of UN guidelines ( and UK prison regulation PSO 2700, Section

The justice minister, Rory Stewart, has admitted, by default, that there is no reasonable justification for Melanie’s prolonged incarceration and inhumane treatment; that she is, in fact, a political prisoner; and that government ministers are hiding behind the Data Protection Act for the benefit of interests other than those of law-abiding British subjects (see my letter to Mr Stewart dated 31 May, 2018, copy enclosed, to which, some three weeks later, I have received no reply).

Melanie has served her sentence in full, with the addition, at time of writing, of a futher 18 days. Please disprove the statements which Mr Stewart has tacitly confirmed and see that she is released without further delay. Should you fail to do so, Melanie’s friends will take this as further confirmation that she is, indeed, a political prisoner.

Yours sincerely,

Gillian Swanson MA (Oxon)

Enc: document stating that Melanie Shaw will be released from prison on 2 June, 2018; close-up of date of release; pbotograph of Melanie’s leg after some months in Sodexo’s private prison in Peterborough; letter to Rory Stewart, dated 31 May, 2018; letter to Rory Stewart dated 21 June, 2018.


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