Two Cuban Refugees Headed to US
And if the results of final assessments by the US government prove favourable for the pair, it is likely they will be leaving the Bahamas by the end of the month, said lawyer Roger Gomez II.
Questioned why Randy Rodriguez was still being held if this were the case, the lawyer said: “There was a deportation order signed by the minister with regard to them. So that gives them the right to hold them in prison.”
This was confirmed by Director of Public Prosecutions Vinette Graham-Allen who noted the contention of the Bahamas government that their detention is lawful.
Yesterday morning in a status hearing before Justice Carolita Bethell, Mr Gomez II told the court that his clients, Rodriguez and Mauricio Valdez had been successful in getting asylum into a third country, which should occur at the end of the month.
However, efforts were still being made to get asylum for Pedro Verado who was interviewed last week.
DPP Graham-Allen told the court that based on the information the Crown received, it was highly likely that Valdez and Rodriguez would get repatriated to a third country, but there were still formalities to be dealt with.
She agreed that Verado was interviewed last week and serious efforts were being made to find a third country for him.
Taking the information into consideration, Justice Bethell deferred the matter to September 9 for trial, but added that if and when official asylum is granted, a date could be set prior to that for the habeas corpus applications to be withdrawn.
In the previous court appearance on August 1 when a full hearing was scheduled to take place, Mr Gomez II asked for the case to be adjourned until interviews with the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, had been completed.
The DPP, who confirmed that deportation orders had already been signed for the three men agreed to the adjournment, which was set for August 21.
Valdez and Rodriguez are being held at Her Majesty’s Prisons, after they caused disruption at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre. They were interviewed by UNHCR’s US counterparts on July 31.
Verado is being held at the Detention Centre and was interviewed by UNHCR officials during last week.
The three filed a writ of habeas corpus asking the court to release them based on “various allegations of abuse.”
A writ of habeas corpus is a legal action that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court. The principle of habeas corpus ensures that a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention—that is, detention lacking sufficient cause or evidence. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to the prisoner’s aid.
A writ of habeas corpus is a summons with the force of a court order; it is addressed to the custodian (a prison official for example) and demands that a prisoner be taken before the court, and that the custodian present proof of authority, allowing the court to determine whether the custodian has lawful authority to detain the prisoner.
By Lamech Johnson
Tribune Staff Reporter