Categorized | National News

Panama Grants Cubans Asylum- Gov’t Condemns Cuban Foray As Malicious

Nearly 20 Cubans detained in The Bahamas will be granted territorial asylum in Panama.

According to online news site, the Global Post, the Panamanian government made its decision for humanitarian reasons.

“Panama received the request of 19 Cuban citizens to be covered by the asylum statute, a condition that will be authorized for them as per the decision of the President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, once they enter Panamanian territory,” Panama’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The group could reportedly arrive in Panama some time this week.

“This is an expedited procedure, based on the Caracas Convention of 1954 whereby territorial asylum is granted to citizens who are suffering political persecution or whose personal safety is endangered,” the Foreign Ministry explained.

According to the Global Post, in granting the asylum request, the Panamanian government considered “the complaints of international human rights organizations, which have warned about the treatment received by Cuban citizens detained in the … Bahamas.”

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Fred Mitchell declined to comment on the issue.

For weeks, Cuban Americans have decried the alleged mistreatment of Cuban detainees in The Bahamas.

They recently upped the ante on their protests in Miami, Florida.

The group used a 40ft trailer to emblazon the words, “Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Please Stop Covering Up Torture of Undocumented Migrants.”

Firing back, the government on Friday issued a terse statement on the issue.

“The government of The Bahamas roundly condemns this latest foray by the Miami protestors as libelous and defamatory,” the statement read.

“It not only injures the reputation of our country but is a baseless, malicious and personal attack on the character of the prime minister. It is clear that these are desperate individuals with no sense of discretion, balance or regard for the truth. We denounce this latest slander.”

This is the not the first time the government has responded to such allegations.

In recent weeks, it has repeatedly stressed that it does not condone, incite or support the cruel and inhumane treatment of any detainee in any facility in The Bahamas and that such treatment is not tolerated of any of its agencies.

According to officials, the Cubans detained at Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP) are only there temporarily because they were engaged in disorderly and violent behavior at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre and that their removal from the facility was necessary both for their protection and the protection and safety of others at the centre.

Meantime, officials are hoping that preliminary investigations into the allegations made by both the protestors and the detainees be augmented by a formal investigation.

The investigation would be headed by a former justice of the Court of Appeal and a religious leader.

“We expect that this review will commence shortly and that a report will be made to us as soon as possible. We will review the report and act accordingly, and take any punitive or disciplinary action as deemed necessary,” the statement said.

The government has also agreed to a senior US official visiting the detention centre.

Simon Henshaw is the principal deputy assistant secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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