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Cubans request asylum with Minister of Justice

~Lawyer seeks their release~

PHILIPSBURG--The nine Cubans who are being held at the local police station for over two weeks have now officially requested asylum.

Attorney-at-law Remco Stomp, who is representing the Cubans, delivered their signed asylum requests to the Government Administration Building on Tuesday.

Pending their request, Stomp has sent a letter to Minister of Justice Roland Duncan stating that the situation at the police station is becoming unbearable for the Cuban asylum seekers, among whom are several young women. Their lawyer has requested the immediate release of the Cubans, who had arrived here illegally.

According to Stomp there are no indications that a short-term solution is in sight for the Cubans.

"Deporting them back to Cuba is no option for they have clearly indicated that they want asylum. That means that they fear to be prosecuted once they return," Stomp said in press statement.

"I have indicated before that government could ask for assistance with this matter from bigger nations with more resources. The United States, for instance, but also Holland have committed themselves last year to intensify their support and cooperation in the field of immigration. Fact is that nothing seems to be happening and my clients are sitting in the dark, occupying space that is seriously needed at this point and time on St. Maarten. Therefore they should be released while waiting for government to find a proper solution," Stomp said, who stressed that this was not a standard case of illegal migration.

"I have indicated to the Minister that I expect my clients to be out of the police cells before 12:00pm, [today] Wednesday, December 1. In case they are still there, I will immediate file an injunction at the local court for their release. We can't go on like this," Stomp said.

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