Refugee’s bail decision further adjourned

The Boroko District Court in Port Moresby has further adjourned the handing down of its decision on a bail application by Iranian refugee, Loghman Sawari to Wednesday 1:30pm.

The matter was deferred due to technical issues the presiding magistrate had over his decision. Sawari is the refugee who was deported to PNG on Friday February 3, from Fiji.

He will spend another night in remand at Bomana because the vehicle that was supposed to bring him down to Boroko is undergoing service.

Sawari was transported to the CIS facility at Bomana soon after his lawyer asked the court for bail at K500 last Friday.

The 21-year-old was arrested and charged for falsifying passport documents under the Passport Act of 1982 after he was deported back to PNG from Fiji 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,  given Refugee status and relocated to Lae, however found it difficult to survive there. Robbed and assaulted he later returned to Manus.

On Friday, 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 be 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 last Friday. Loop PNG Picture by Kennedy Bani.)





Sally Pokiton