US judge orders government to release Iraqis or grant bond hearings

In this file photo, Lindsey Hamama, 11, right, cries as her mother Nahrain speaks to the crowd in Detroit, about her father Usama "Sam" Hamama, who was detained during Immigration and customs enforcement raids of primarily Chaldean immigrants, in which 114 Iraqi nationals in Metro Detroit were detained and are facing deportation. (AP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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US judge orders government to release Iraqis or grant bond hearings

WASHINGTON: A US judge ordered the government on Tuesday to either release Iraqi immigrants it arrested last year or grant them bond hearings, in the latest judicial curb on the Trump administration’s efforts to tighten US immigration.
Last year the federal government detained hundreds of Iraqi immigrants who had been ordered deported years ago due to criminal convictions. Iraq until recently had refused to take them back, but struck a deal with the US in March to repatriate its citizens, sparking the immigration sweeps.
The Iraqis and civil rights groups representing them sued the federal government. US District Judge Mark Goldsmith, in Detroit, had previously halted the deportation of the Iraqis, many of whom are Christian, who argued they would face persecution if they were sent back to Iraq.
In his ruling on Tuesday, Goldsmith said that any of the Iraqis held for six months or longer must either be released or granted a bond hearing before an immigration judge within 30 days.
“Our legal tradition rejects warehousing human beings while their legal rights are being determined,” wrote Goldsmith.
The Trump administration has tried to deport the Iraqis as part of its push to increase immigration enforcement and make countries, which have resisted in the past, take back nationals ordered deported from the US.
Since June, immigration enforcement officers have detained approximately 300 Iraqi nationals with final deportation orders, according to information provided to the court by the Iraqis’ lawyers. There are approximately 1,400 Iraqis in the US with final deportation orders.
The US government said in March that Iraq had agreed to repatriate Iraqi nationals ordered deported from the US.
But Goldsmith noted in his order that the US has “no written agreement” with Iraq regarding its cooperation, and that it is therefore unclear whether Iraq had agreed to take back all its nationals, and if so, under what conditions.
Goldsmith said his ruling would apply to Iraqi detainees in similar circumstances nationwide, even if they are not involved in the litigation.
“(Goldsmith) just really reaffirmed the principle that indefinite detention in this country is not acceptable,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, which is representing the Iraqis.
The Department of Justice, which is arguing on behalf of the government, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Mob lynches Muslim man over cow smuggling charges in India

Updated 21 July 2018
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Mob lynches Muslim man over cow smuggling charges in India

  • Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu-majority country, where attacks on minority groups, especially Muslims, have been on the rise
  • The mob intercepted two men carrying two cows around midnight in a forested and began punching and beating them with sticks

NEW DELHI: A Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob in western India over allegations of smuggling cows, police said Saturday, despite calls by the country's highest court for immediate steps to stop deadly mob violence across the country.
The mob intercepted two men on foot who were bringing two cows with them around midnight in a forested area in Alwar district of Rajasthan state and began punching and beating them with sticks, said police officer Mohan Singh. He said the men were taking the dairy animals to their village in neighboring Haryana state.
One managed to escape while the other was taken to a hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Singh said police got a tip about the attack and immediately reached the area. "However, the attackers fled as they saw us approaching, leaving behind the injured man and two cows," he said.
Police said they could not verify the allegation that the men were smuggling cows.
In a similar case last year in the same district, a Muslim man was killed and 14 others brutally beaten after being accused of bringing cows for slaughter. The men had bought the animals at a cattle fair and were taking them home in Haryana state.
Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu-majority country, and slaughtering cows or eating beef is illegal or restricted across much of the country.
India has seen a series of mob attacks on minority groups since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party swept national elections in 2014. Most of the attacks by so-called cow vigilantes from Hindu groups have targeted Muslims, who make up 4 percent of India's 1.3 billion people. Hindus make up about 80 percent of the population.
The victims have been accused of either smuggling cows for slaughter or carrying beef. Last month, two Muslims were lynched in eastern Jharkhand state on charges of cattle theft. Such mob attacks have left at least 20 people dead by cow vigilante groups, mostly believed to be tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party.
India's highest court on Tuesday asked the federal government to consider enacting a law to deal with an increase in lynching and mob violence, fueled mostly by rumors that the victims either belonged to members of child kidnapping gangs or were beef eaters and cow slaughterers. The Supreme Court said that "horrendous acts of mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm and gave a slew of measures to the central and state governments for stem the violence.