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Sunday 21 July 2019
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Detained asylum seekers released

Photo by Roger Jacob
Photo by Roger Jacob

FIVE Venezuelans who came to Trinidad seeking asylum and were detained for seven days by immigration, have been released.

The five were released on Monday after their lawyers filed writs of habeas corpus in the High Court demanding the Chief Immigration Officer provide reasons for their detention although they were registered as asylum seekers with the United Nations Refuge Agency (UNHCR).

Paola Arila, Betania Cedeno, Yorleisys Lista, Isneivys Sabdiego and Celymar Parcia, were released on Orders of Supervision by immigration on Monday. One of the five is a minor.

The women entered the country in May, and sought asylum status. They completed their applications on May 29, but were detained on June 24.

When told of their detention, the UNHCR expedited their applications and their asylum seeker certificates were issued.

Lawyers representing the five informed the Immigration Division’s Enforcement and Investigations Unit of their status on June 25, and asked that they be released. They were not.

According to the writ filed on their behalf, the conditions under which they were detained were inhumane and they were subjected to “gender-based violations” which will require medical and psychosocial care.

The writ spoke of a fear that their continued detention would further exacerbate problems.

“The conditions of their detention are inappropriate, uncomfortable, and undignified for women seeking protection. Their need for privacy, access to basic needs and supplies has been disregarded.”

The writ also said the five did not pose a significant threat or flight risk to national security to justify their further deprivation of liberty.

The five were represented by attorneys Elena Da Silva and Devvon Williams.

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