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Thomas: Men wrongfully detained!

Thomas: Men wrongfully detained!

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Jomo Thomas, lawyer for the two African nationals who were recently released after being detained for five years, maintains the view that the state infringed on the rights of his clients and that the men were wrongfully detained.{{more}}

He was responding to comments made by Stanford Hamilton (see story on back page), Head of Immigration, who contends that there were sufficient grounds on which to detain Benjamin Fife Danquah and Emmanuel Johnson Chijioke.

“It is not that the state doesn’t have a right to detain and deport, but when the intention is to detain and deport, you cannot hold persons indefinitely,” Thomas explained.

According to Thomas, the state acted wrongly in that unless there is a clear, “delineated time frame with which you are going to deport, you have to release the person.”

Thomas said, even during cross examination of the local authorities, which included Hamilton, those questioned were unable to provide sufficient evidence that was being done to facilitate the repatriation process.

“What Mr Hamilton and the others couldn’t say was when was the last time they made an effort to check out the guys’ identity,” Thomas contended.

He added that he was of the opinion that the state machinery only rolled into action after the Habeas Corpus motion was filed.

In fact, the attorney told SEARCHLIGHT that it was revealed on July 7, 2010, the first day of the hearing, the state had already made a decision to release Danquah and Chijioke.

“Because they knew they had no basis upon which to hold the men. By the time the state saw my application, the authorities knew there was no way that they could have prevailed,” Thomas explained.

“They (the state) had agreed to release the men on condition that they would supply information that had already been incorporated in my Habeas Corpus application to establish the men’s true identity to have them repatriated,” he continued.

Thomas said that he was now anxiously awaiting the High Court judge’s ruling on compensation of the men.

“If nothing, then I am going to appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal and let them make a determination,” he said. (DD)

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