Indian detainees in US not handcuffed, claims volunteer

Washington, July 21: Over 50 Indian nationals detained in a prison in the US state of Oregon after illegally entering the country are not being handcuffed, a legal advocacy group volunteer said on Friday.

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Media reports had claimed that the Indian immigrants, seeking asylum in the US fearing religious and political persecution back home, were being treated like criminals in a federal prison in Oregon, where they have been detained for the past several weeks now.

“It was not my statement that immigrants detained at (a federal prison in) Sheridan (Oregon) have been kept in handcuffs and chains since their arrival or that they are in handcuffs and chains 24×7 now. My statement has been misconstrued by the media,” Navneet Kaur, a community college professor, said in a statement.

Kaur, who has been volunteering with the Portland-based Innovation Law Lab in providing legal aid to more than 50 Indian prisoners in Sheridan jail, said her account was based on a visit to the prison and meetings with these detainees.

Her main role is to provide translation to the detainees, a majority of whom are from Punjab and speak only Punjabi.

“On July 14, during the celebrations to mark the 105th anniversary of the Ghadar Party in Astoria, Oregon, I spoke against the grave violations of human rights experienced by immigrants detained in America. My statement was based on the accounts I have heard during my visits to the federal detention centre in Sheridan, Oregon, “ Kaur said.

Source Tribune India