Human rights lawyer, Morgan Moseki, was the toast of the day on Tuesday as the Francistown High Court ordered for the release of detained asylum seekers from Gerald Centre for illegal Immigrants.
At the conclusion of the marathon court case this week, Justice Phadi Solomon, ruled that the asylum seekers should be sheltered at the Dukwi Refugee Camp until they are repatriated to countries that are willing to take them in or their respective countries of origin.
“The applicants followed the right procedure by entering Botswana through gazetted points of entry and handed themselves to the relevant authorities to seek refugee status. Even though their asylum applications were rejected, keeping them at the center for illegal immigrants was unlawful as they have minor children who could have gone to school instead of staying with criminals,” Justice Solomon ruled.
The over 164 rejected asylums seekers are from different countries which include Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Namibia and other African countries.
They were illegally detained beyond the permissible 28 days stipulated under the law.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right (UNHCR) last month wrote a letter stating that they are prepared to provide food and non food items such as soaps, blankets and tents at the Dukwi refugee camp in the event the court released them.
In an interview after the court hearing, attorney, Moseki, who could not hide his excitement said that he was delighted that his clients had finally seen justice.
“We have been granted an order to release them with immediate effect to Dukwi camp. I spent sleepless nights for this matter and I am happy for it to have finished this way,” said Moseki.
Government lost the case with costs.