Refugee to stand trial over false passport

Iranian refugee, Loghman Sawari, will stand trial next week at the Waigani District Court after he pleaded not guilty to allegations he gave false information to obtain a PNG passport.

Sawari and his lawyer appeared in the grade 5 court on Friday before Magistrate Mekeo Gauli.

He was formally arraigned, or had his charges read to him in court, where he pleaded not guilty. A trial will be conducted next Tuesday.

The 21-year-old was arrested and charged for providing false information for the purpose of obtaining a PNG passport from the PNG Immigration and Citizen Services Authority, a charge that falls under section 16 (1) of the Passport Act of 1982.

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

He was arrested on February 3 at the Jackson’s International Airport after he got deported from Fiji.

Summary of facts before the court says he used a passport bearing the name Junior Charles Sawari to travel to Fiji. The passport was obtained through a consultant, Junior Aisa, who allegedly submitted the falsified information to Immigration on July 8, 2016. A fee of K1000 was paid to Aisa for this service.

That passport was released from the PNG Immigration on Aug 2, 2016, and collected by Aisa.

Sawari arrived in PNG from Christmas Island in 2013 as a 17-year-old seeking asylum. He was processed in Manus and given a refugee status.

He is currently on K1000 District Court bail.

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

Sally Pokiton