Bail decision for deported refugee pending

The Boroko District Court is expected to hand down its decision on a bail application on Tuesday Feb 14 after the lawyer representing Iranian refugee Loghman Sawari sought bail on Friday.

Sawari is the refugee who was deported to PNG on Friday February 3 from Fiji. He went to court proposing bail to be granted at K500.

 He was transported to the CIS facility at Bomana soon after the court hearing, where he will be remanded in separate confinement till Tuesday.

He was remanded at the Boroko Police station holding cell on Thursday night. The cell is currently undergoing renovation and police allowed for him to be confined there for only one night.

Magistrate Alex Kalandi after hearing submissions on the bail application on Friday issued an order allowing his doctor and psychiatric to have access to Sawari at Bomana.

The 21-year-old was arrested and charged with falsifying passport documents under the Passport Act of 1982 after he got deported to PNG last Friday.

The charge carries a possible fine not exceeding K10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both. 

He allegedly used a false identification to obtain travel documents which he used to leave PNG for Fiji.

Sawari arrived in PNG from Christmas Island in 2013 as a 17 year old seeking Asylum. He was processed in Manus and given Refugee status however found it difficult to survive in Lae after he moved there. Robbed and assaulted he later returned to Manus.

His lawyer Loani Henao told the court that in June 2016, Sawari came across a passport agent who advertised his services on Facebook. The Agent is known as Junior Aisa was from Skyview Consultants.  

A service fee of K1,000 was paid to Junior Aisa and Henao said his client provided similar information which he also provided in Manus to obtain a refugee visa. The passport was delivered by Junior’s girlfriend to Sawari.

“When the passport was given to him he was under the impression or good faith to travel,” Henao said.

He spent two weeks in Fiji and was on his way to the Fiji Minister of Immigration with his lawyer to discuss his stay in Fiji when he was arrested and deported to PNG on Feb 3.

Sawari’s bail application is supported by his doctor, psychiatric.  Father Francis Xavier of the St Joseph’s parish also supported his bail application as his guarantor.

Police prosecution opposed bail on grounds Sawari is flight risk and can abscond his bail conditions if allowed bail.

Prosecution also told the court that Sawari should he kept in separate confinement either at Bomana or flown back to Manus where his case can be dealt with by the court.

Lawyer Loani Henao said bail is of right under the constitution and It would be inappropriate to send back Sawari to a detention centre which has been declared illegal by the Supreme Court.


(Sawari in a police vehicle on his way to Bomana outside Port Moresby after his bail application was moved in court. Loop PNG Picture by Kennedy Bani.)





Sally Pokiton