08/16/2019

Urgent Action Update: Refugees, Asylum Seekers Held Without Charge (Mozambique: UA 78.19)


Fifteen refugees and asylum seekers (14 men, one woman) from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and one male refugee from Ethiopia have been arbitrarily detained for more than seven months. They have not been notified of the reason for their detention or of any criminal charges against them. According to Article 308 of the Criminal Procedural Code, a person cannot be held in pre-trial detention for more than 90 days after their arrest. They were arrested on 17 January at the Maratane Camp, in Nampula province.

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Jaime Basílio Monteiro
Minister of Interior
Address: Av. Olof Palme 46/48,
Maputo, Mozambique
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Ambassador Carlos Dos Santos
Embassy of the Republic of Mozambique
1525 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202 293 7146 I Fax: 202 835 0245
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Minister Jaime Basílio Monteiro,

I am writing to you on the case of 16 people (11 refugees and five asylum seekers, 15 men and one woman), who are currently detained at the Third Police Station in Pemba city, Cabo Delgado province.

The 16 people have been held for more than seven months, and they have not been notified of the reason for their detention or of any criminal charges against them. They have also not been brought before a court. According to Article 308, §1°, N° 3, of the Criminal Procedural Code, a person cannot be held in pre-trial detention for more than 90 days after their arrest.

On 12 March, lawyers filed an application for the provisional release of the 16 refugees and asylum seekers and the Pemba Provincial Court has yet to rule on the request.

The 16 refugees and asylum seekers are being held in inhumane conditions. They share the same prison cell. The detainees dug a hole in the police station’s patio to use as a toilet. They drink yellow water from the cell’s sink when they don’t have money to pay someone to buy bottled water.

I urge you to ensure the immediate release of the 16 refugees and asylum seekers and allow them to return safely to the Maratane Camp in Nampula province; refrain from deporting them to their countries of origin or to any other country in which they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations, in line with Mozambique’s international human rights obligations; ensure that, pending their release, the 16 refugees and asylum seekers’ conditions of detention are in line with international standards, including access to food, water and adequate health care.

Yours sincerely,

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