7 immigrant children reunited with their mothers in New York

Yeni Gonzalez Garcia, a Guatemalan mother who had been separated from her children, exits the Cayuga Center after being reunited with them in New York City, US, on Friday. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 July 2018
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7 immigrant children reunited with their mothers in New York

  • Gonzalez was driven cross-country by volunteers after she was released from Eloy Detention Center in Arizona
  • The children are 6-year-old Deyuin, 9-year-old Jamelin and 11-year-old Lester

NEW YORK: Seven immigrant children who’d been separated from their families left a New York City social services center Friday holding their mothers’ hands and carrying balloons, backpacks and stuffed animals.
A woman from Guatemala held her 5-year-old son in her arms, more than two months after they were separated. He and his 15-year-old brother have been staying with a New York foster family.
“I want to thank everyone who made this possible, because for me it seemed impossible at one point,” said Rosayra Pablo-Cruz, speaking in Spanish. “When it’s in God’s plans, everything is possible.”
They left the Cayuga Center in East Harlem, which has a federal contract to place unaccompanied immigrant children in short-term foster care.
Yeni Gonzalez, another Guatemalan mother, was given custody of her three sons, ages 6, 9 and 11.
“I feel very happy,” she said.
She thanked elected officials, her attorney, and volunteers who paid her bond through crowdfunding and drove her from the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona to New York.
She had a message for mothers still in detention near the Mexican border: “Fight because with the help of all these people you will succeed, and the help of God.”
Julie Schwietert Collazo was one of the people. She organized the caravan that brought Gonzalez to New York after her volunteer group paid $7,500 bond so Gonzalez could be released from detention. They raised a total of nearly $200,000 and so far have bonded six women out of the Arizona facility, with three more expected to be released.
Asked whether she had anything to say to Republican President Donald Trump, Gonzalez shook her head, no.
On Friday, a Honduran mother also left Cayuga quietly with her two children — one carrying a big stuffed bear and smiling.


Sri Lanka needs hangmen after resuming capital punishment

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena. (REUTERS)
Updated 40 min 28 sec ago
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Sri Lanka needs hangmen after resuming capital punishment

  • The president believes that punishment by state execution is the best way to combat the country’s drugs crisis

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government is on the hunt for executioners following its decision to bring back capital punishment.
A job advertisement published in the country’s state-run newspaper is seeking two people of “very good mind and mental strength” to fill the newly created posts.
The move follows President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to reinstate the death penalty within the next two months.
According to the advert, published on behalf of Sri Lanka’s Department of Prisons, the ideal candidates need to be aged between 18 and 45 with a basic education.
And the successful applicants will earn a generous $290 per month, an amount well above average for a public sector job in the country.
Sri Lanka’s prisons spokesman, Thushara Upuldeniya, told Arab News that his department had placed the advertisement on Feb. 11 but had not yet received any applications. The final date for applying for the executioner posts is Feb. 25.
Upuldeniya said that any applicants selected will have to undergo a viva voce test (oral examination).

“In addition to mental strength, the personality and physical strength of the applicant will also be taken into consideration,” he added.
During an address to the Sri Lankan Parliament last week, Sirisena said that those convicted of drug-related offenses will be the first to be sent to the gallows.
The president believes that punishment by state execution is the best way to combat the country’s drugs crisis. Sirisena’s decision is seen by some as mirroring Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s approach to crime, and could lead to 25 people, including two drug dealers, facing execution.
A list of detainees convicted of drug-related crimes was handed to Sri Lanka’s Presidential Secretariat on Jan. 25. There are an additional 436 people, including six women, on death row for crimes including murder.
A predominantly Buddhist country, Sri Lanka voted in favor of a UN resolution for a moratorium on the death penalty in 2015.
Sri Lanka’s judiciary imposes capital punishment, but the death penalty has not been implemented since June 23, 1976. The government reinstated the punishment for killings, rape, and drug trafficking in 2004 following the murder of a high court judge.
At present two jails in the country, Welikada and Bogambara, are equipped to carry out capital punishment whenever a presidential order is received.
However, finding the right people for the job of executioner seems an uphill task, at least for now.
After searching for an executioner for three years, Sri Lanka’s prison department appointed a hangman in 2014. He was given a week’s training, but on seeing the gallows for the first time, became distressed and immediately resigned.
Meanwhile, an official told Arab News that a new noose is being imported, as the current one had served its time.
The Sri Lanka Standards Institution said it had already requested the Foreign Ministry to order a noose from Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh or India. The previous one was gifted by Pakistan in 2015.