By Constantinos Psillides
IMMIGRATION chief Annie Shiakalli has rejected claims her office violated court procedures to deport Congo Mahamoudou an immigrant from Burkina Faso.
Shiakalli responded to claims made by human rights lawyer Michalis Paraskeva, who said on Wednesday that his client was deported without getting a chance to appeal his deportation order before the court.
Paraskeva claimed that he made repeated attempts at securing the deportation order but was stonewalled by immigration.
“I was not informed of his request. This is the first time I hear of it. Of course we wouldn’t deny documentation. We did everything by the book, we followed all the rules,” said Shiakalli.
She added that the lawyer could appeal the deportation order even if he doesn’t have all the documentation at his disposal.
Congo Mahamoudou got married to Tatiana Chripkova, a Slovak EU national in 2011 and was given a residency permit until 2017. It was thought by the lawyer, and Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou that the reason Mahamoudou was deported was because his marriage was deemed a sham by immigration.
“This is not the case,” said Shiakalli. “The reason for his deportation was that he failed to meet the criteria as a spouse of a European citizen”.
According to Shiakalli, immigration investigated the marriage and found out that his wife was living in England. “He was staying here, while she was in England.
They were not living together.” Chripkova claims that she was seeking employment in England for her and her husband. She had also filed a request with British High Commission to get a work permit for her husband in the UK.
According to legislation, a person under investigation by immigration should notify authorities if he/she will be spending time abroad.
“They failed to do so. Police tried to contact him after he was notified on the investigation but he was nowhere to be found. This is not the first time that particular individual was the subject of an investigation by the immigration services,” said Shiakalli. She said in May 2008 he was wed to a Romanian national.
“He came to Cyprus on January 21, 2008. He asked for asylum but withdrew his request after he was married to a Romanian woman. On May 2011 their marriage was deemed one of convenience after careful investigation. He appealed the decision but on April 2012 he said that he was married again, this time to a Slovak national. We gave him a residency permit but upon further investigation we found out that his wife was living in England. We contacted him, explained why he would be deported and arrested him. We followed every procedure,” Shiakalli said.
When faced with the claim that the immigrant never received the order, Shiakalli responded that she has an acceptance document with his signature on it.
The Cyprus Mail contacted Chripkova, who said she would do everything in her power to bring her husband back. “They broke my heart, they destroyed my life. I want my husband back,” said the Slovak national, who has filed an official complaint with the Slovak embassy.
The Ombudswoman office has launched a probe in the case to determine whether proper procedure was followed.
The lawyer said that he would be taking the case to the European Human Rights Court, regardless of the probe’s findings.