Monday, November 22, 2004

The award-winning US writer Edwidge Danticat is leading calls for an inquiry into the death in custody of her uncle, an 81-year-old Baptist minister who fled Haiti to seek asylum in the US. Human rights groups say his death highlights a discriminatory asylum policy against Haitian refugees.

Joseph Dantica, whose funeral takes place in New York today, was detained at Miami airport on October 29 after requesting asylum, though he had a valid US visa. He died in custody five days later.

From Maya Jaggi's report in the UK Guardian. The wire services have picked up the story and many newspapers in the US & elsewhere have run it already; I hope they'll continue to ask hard questions of the Homeland Security officials involved. I myself can't help wondering if there's any connection between Edwidge Danticat's public opposition to the Bush administration & her uncle's detention.

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