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Monday 17 December 2018
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78 Cubans sent to jails

File photo: Cuban asylum seekers who were arrested outside the United Nations office at Chancery Lane, Port of Spain wave as they arrived at the Port of Spain Magistrates Court last Friday.
File photo: Cuban asylum seekers who were arrested outside the United Nations office at Chancery Lane, Port of Spain wave as they arrived at the Port of Spain Magistrates Court last Friday.

THE 78 Cubans seeking asylum through TT have been placed in various prisons after appearing in court on Friday charged with loitering.

The Cubans who were arrested after camping outside UN House, at Chancery Lane, Port of Spain, for the last three weeks, said they intend to defend the charge that they obstructed the free passageway.

It was first thought that the 78, who were each granted $5,000 bail by Port of Spain magistrate Sanara Toon-McQuilkin, would spend their time at the Immigration Detention Centre, Aripo, since they do not have the means to access bail. Relatives of those held were expected to picket outside the IDC yesterday but when they arrived they were told that none of the 78 were being kept there until their next court date on Tuesday. Sunday Newsday was told that they were separated and placed at the Eastern Correctional Rehabilitation Centre at Santa Rosa Heights, Arima, Maximum Security Prison and the Women's Prison, both in Arouca.

As early as 5 am on Friday, Port of Spain Task Force, Immigration Division and official Spanish translators, went to Chancery Lane and removed the asylum seekers.

Among the group was a couple from among eight arrested and freed last December on the same charge. The eight were freed by Toon-McQuilkin after prosecutors said they were not ready to proceed with the case although trial dates had been set on two occasions.

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