(CMR) The wife and sons of former Haitian Senator Joseph Joel John, who is an alleged accomplice in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, are to be deported from Jamaica after they were denied refugee status.
Edume John (38) and her sons, aged 17 and 9, were taken into custody along with the former senator and charged after they were found during a police operation in St Elizabeth in January.
The ex-senator was extradited to the US earlier this month, and his family members applied for refugee status, but it was denied. They then filed an appeal.
The removal order was issued by the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Monday.
According to Jamaica Observer, on Monday, the family's lawyer, Donahue Martin, requested that the court admonish and discharge them for illegally entering Jamaica, causing them to be sent back to Haiti.
“Your Honour, I do have instructions today to have this matter removed from the court list… might I invite Your Honour to admonish and discharge the offenders. The reason for my application, Your Honour, is that the offenders entered the island quite literally with clothes on their backs as a result of issues in their place of origin. They had applied to our Government to be considered refugees,” Martin said, noting that he believes if his clients don’t represent the definition of refugee status, then no one can do the same.
“So practically speaking, Your Honor, it is quite problematic for the persons to remain in custody in not the best of conditions, and this is in the context of what I consider to be well-founded concerns concerning their safety as well,” he continued.
Martin urged the Jamaican government to review protocols concerning persons applying for asylum status.
He stated, “Because this certainly is not the best example of how it is, we should honor our international obligations. I do believe we can do better as a people because, at any point, the shoe can be on our foot where it is that we might have some instances where us as citizens need the help of our neighbors, and we certainly wouldn't want to be treated like this.”