By Constantinos Psillides
Human rights lawyer Michalis Paraskeva yesterday accused immigration of refusing to provide him with the detention order for Congo Mahamoudou, detained at Menoyia since December 17.
In a letter sent to, among others, immigration, and the office of the attorney general, Paraskeva demands to be given the order through which his client was arrested and detained, so he can proceed with defending Mahamoudou in court.
“I really don’t know what else to do. I asked them repeatedly for the order but they simply won’t hand it over,” said Papaskeva. He said by law, detention is only reserved for people about to be deported.
“Besides that, the law clearly stipulates that he can only be detained for a few days, awaiting deportation. He’s been there for over a month,” he added.
Mahamoudou is married to Tatiana Chripkova, a Slovak national who is on her eleventh day of hunger strike outside the detention centre, asking for the release of her spouse.
Chripkova has been working in Cyprus for the past seven years and had recently found employment in the UK, where she said she is planning to move with her husband. While away on work, the Famagusta branch of the police immigration office declared their marriage was one of convenience and he was immediately arrested and placed at the Menoyia centre.
Mahamoudou was previously given a residency permit (as a family member of an EU citizen) that expires in 2017. The permit has since been revoked.
Chripkova returned to Cyprus once she was notified about her husband’s arrest and has filed a petition for him to be released but received no answer.
She blasted the authorities saying that her husband missed his appointment at the British High Commission offices in Cyprus, for an interview regarding his petition to enter the UK and be reunited with his wife.
Chripkova told the Cyprus Mail that she was not leaving the detention centre, even if it kills her. “We have a real marriage. I love my husband and we just want to leave for the UK to work. I am not leaving here. I don’t care what happens,” said Chripkova.
Immigrant rights advocate KISA said that there was no clear process for deciding what constitutes a marriage of convenience. “They declare marriages to be false, without sufficient evidence and deport people merely on suspicion,” said KISA.
Immigration Offices and department head Annie Shakalli could not be reached for comment.