The 15 Indian nationals who were served with rejection orders when they were released by police after their arrest on a foreign tanker which was intercepted by the Coast Guard last month, in which more than 400 kilogrammes of cocaine were found, are challenging immigration officials.
On Thursday, they received the permission of Justice Kevin Ramcharan to have the court review the rejection orders of immigration officials.
They are arguing that the rejection orders were made without an inquiry or them being interviewed with a translator.
The 15 are also complaining that there was no evidence they fell into a prohibited class under the Immigration Act and they were not told why they had been rejected from entering TT.
The matter returns to court on August 5.
The men were arrested on April 28, on-board the tanker Throne, off the north coast of Trinidad. A search by the coast guardsmen led to the alleged discovery of the 400 kilogrammes of cocaine hidden in the vessel’s fuel tanks. The cocaine had an estimated street value of $160 million.
There were 19 men on the tanker- 17 Indian and two Turkish nationals.
Police were ordered to release the 15 Indians and one of the Turks.
Drug trafficking charges were laid against the other three, which included the ship’s captain and an executive of the shipping company which leased the vessel and a shipmate.
After they were released by police, the 15 Indians and Turk were served with rejection orders by immigration officials and 13 of them were taken to the Immigration Detention Centre, while three others are with the ship at Staubles Bay, Chaguaramas.
They are represented by attorneys Wayne Sturge, Mario Merritt, Karunaa Bisramsingh, and Manuela Hospedales.