HOME Secretary Amber Rudd must write a time limit on detention into her post-Brexit immigration bill, faith leaders say.

The Muslim Council of Scotland is among signatories to a letter urging Rudd to end “unjust, ineffective and inhumane” indefinite detention at government facilities across the UK.

Those taken to centres like Dungavel, in South Lanarkshire, can he kept there without a time limit, and about 30,000 people are placed in such facilities every year, including survivors of torture, slavery and rape.

Some are taken to centres hundreds of miles from the communities in which they have been living, such as in the case of Glasgow woman Chennan Fei, who was detained at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire, and others highlighted by The National.

The Catholic Church, Sikh Federation and Hindu Council have also added their support for the law change.

The UK is currently the only European country without a statutory time limit on immigration detention.

The statement, which refers to research by the British Medical Association, Amnesty and others on the mental health cost of the practice, reads: “Evidence shows that it causes huge harm – not only to those detained, but to their family, children, friends and community.

“The time to act is now. We urge the government to put some fairness, decency and due process into our immigration system and urgently put a 28-day time limit on detention.”

Dr Muhammad Adrees, convenor of the Muslim Council of Scotland, commented: “The UK operates one of the strictest detention regimes in Europe and it is time we look at alternatives away from arbitrary detention.

“Above all, we must continue to fulfil our moral duty to help those who are fleeing, in some cases, unspeakable horrors and atrocities by providing them safety, dignity and opportunity to come to terms with what they’ve been through and to rebuild their lives.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Paul McAleenan, auxiliary bishop of Westminster and lead Catholic bishop for migration and asylum, said: “It has been demonstrated time and time again that indefinite immigration detention not only violates people’s basic human dignity, but that it serves no meaningful purpose.”

The intervention comes as human rights organisation Liberty launches a major public campaign to end the practice.

Glasgow University professor Alison Phipps, Unesco chair for refugee integration and Scottish Refugee Council ambassador, backed the call, describing indefinite detention as “an especially cruel and unusual feature of an immigration system in utter chaos at every level”.

Phipps, whose foster daughter was held in detention, went on: “Research has repeatedly shown what common sense knows well – that to lock people up indefinitely is to inflict psychological damage from which any recovery will be a long, costly and arduous road.

“Detention without time limit serves policies of deliberate disintegration – of minds, souls, bodies, of families, communities and of faith in systems of justice to administer directives fairly ensuring dignity is always maintained. As one survivor once said to me, ‘it is a place where people cry all the day’.”

The government says detention and removal are “essential parts of effective immigration controls” for those without “lawful basis” to remain, and that those held are treated with “dignity and respect”, with healthcare available round the clock.