According to court documents, Albert Oluwafemi Ademo and Akinnodi Olubusayo Olugbeniro were transiting through Port Moresby when officers from the Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) noticed that Ademo had a Solomon Island passport. The duo, who came from the Philippines and were on their way to Canada, were taken to the Boroko Police Station for questioning. That was in May 20 this year. They have been detained at the Bomana Prison since that day.
Hence, they filed before the Waigani National Court Human Rights Track a fresh application seeking their release. Listed as Defendants were the State, ICA, Solomon Kantha as the Chief Migration Officer, Petrus Thomas as Minister for Correctional Services and Yelly Oiufa as Commander of the Bomana Jail.
The matter went before Justice Jim Wala Tamate on November 8th. Their lawyer from the Public Solicitor’s Office told the court that the duo has not heard back from ICA who had promised them tickets to the Philippines to continue their journey.
Further, the ICA officer who detained them allegedly confiscated their phones and US$100 under the pretext of converting it to PNG Kina. The court was told that the Correctional Service was not able to help them since there were no warrant or court order explaining their detainment. Hence, they were before the court seeking orders for their release, saying they can pay for their own expenses out of the country.
Justice Tamate told their lawyer to file and serve the Human Rights Application forms 1 to 5 and all affidavits in support and the defendants to make respective replies before November 29 when the matter returns to court for directions hearing.
(Daisy Pakawa is a third year journalism student)