NATION

Lawyer recounts client’s ordeal

Iranian refugee, Loghman Sawari was deported back to Papua New Guinea yesterday morning. The 21-year-old looked distraught and cried out as he was escorted from a Immigration Department vehicle to
04 Feb 2017 11:15
Lawyer recounts  client’s ordeal
Loghman Sawari's laywer, Aman Ravindra-Singh pictured with the Iranian refugee's luggage.

Iranian refugee, Loghman Sawari was deported back to Papua New Guinea yesterday morning.

The 21-year-old looked distraught and cried out as he was escorted from a Immigration Department vehicle to a Air Niugini flight bound for Port Moresby.

His hands were tightly held by Police officers. Hours after his departure, his lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh called a press conference to relay his account of the event.

He also brought with him the two black knapsacks bags left behind by Mr Sawari.

The pair were on their way to Suva for a scheduled meeting with the director of Immigration, Nemani Vuniwaqa.

Mr Ravindra-Singh said he spoke with Mr Vuniwaqa and their meeting was scheduled for 10am yesterday.

They had agreed to the following conditions:

“I will present Loghman Sawari at the Director of Immigrations office in Suva at 10am on Friday, (yesterday), and I also informed him that we will be using that time from Tuesday to Thursday to gather all the information and documents that we needed for the application.

“The director had personally assured me on Tuesday that nothing will happen in between and there would be no issues until we present Loghman Sawari before the director of Immigrations office.”

He said that they picked Mr Sawari yesterday morning from Nadi and they were on their way to Suva to present themselves to the Director of Immigration Office.

“We were on time and we were on track,” he said.

Mr Singh added that at about 7.20am they were intercepted by six Police officers at Korotogo Police Station.

He said that the Police officers did not introduce themselves but simply asked him to get out of the car as they needed to discuss something.

“I got off the car and as I turned back, I heard another Police officer saying, ‘tauri koya’ (take him) pointing to where Mr Sawari was sitting. Another Police officer came to the back, opened the door and pulled this young man out.

“And it was done aggressively, at this point, Mr Sawari began to faint. He was very weak and he was almost falling down and it was lucky that he held on to the side of the vehicle.”

Mr Singh said when he asked the Police officers about what was happening, there were no straight answers.

“No introduction, nothing, no name, no ranks, simply they were saying, we are taking him!  So I said, hold on, under whose direction?”

According to him, there was a lot of tension at that point, the Police officers were acting very aggressively and they began to crowd into this young man.

The Police officers took Mr Sawari to Sigatoka town where he was transferred into an Immigration vehicle and was escorted by the Police to the Nadi Airport.

Police however have maintained that they were acting on a request for assistance by the Immigration Department.

Edited by Rosi Doviverata

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