- They ask ICE for freedom for a Guatemalan pastor detained by order of Interpol.
- Hugo Gómez’s lawyer and family say there is no evidence to deport him.
- ICE detained Gomez for allegedly lying on his application for permanent residence regarding whether he had committed serious crimes in the past.
The family and lawyer of the Guatemalan pastor Hugo Gómez, detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) since August 2019 following an Interpol order, accused the agency on Tuesday of undermining the immigrant’s due process.
“They are giving a sentence to my client without giving him the right to defend himself in freedom and clarify an unjust accusation,” lawyer Alan Diamante, who represents Gómez, told Efe.
The case of the religious leader gained notoriety amid the coronavirus pandemic, as the 61-year-old immigrant caught COVID-19 while in the Immigrant Detention Center in Adelanto, California. The family assures that the priest had health problems.
“It appears his lungs were damaged, and he is still at risk. They are torturing him, ”Leonor Gómez, the detainee’s wife, warned in a broken voice.
“My husband does not deserve to be in the place where they have him, nor the treatment he is receiving, everything about my husband’s case is not authentic,” said Gómez.
“My heart hurts to see [a mi papá] detained for over a year, I miss him so much. He is infected with COVID-19, he is 61 years old, and it is unfair that they do not even give him a bond to be able to leave, “said Debbie Gómez, daughter of the detainee.
Gómez’s migration journey began in August 2019 when ICE agents arrived at his home to arrest him due to an Interpol warrant issued in 2009, in which he was accused of kidnapping and enforced disappearance when he worked as a police officer in Guatemala in the decade 1980.
Diamante questions that ICE had targeted his client ten years after the warrant was issued for a crime allegedly committed in 1984.
“Why did you wait so long to arrest him? Furthermore, the evidence presented by the Guatemalan Government does not present evidence against my client ”, the jurist deepens.