Aslyum lawyer troubled by immigration's disruptive tactics

Local | 16 Oct 2017 9:45 pm

A lawyer representing three families who sheltered US whistle-blower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, has accused the government of "obstructing and interfering" with his work, by reactivating several of his cases at the same time. 

Robert Tibbo said since August, the Immigration Department reactivated 22 of his cases – when he was preparing appeals for the families against the immigration director's decision to reject their claims. 

Some of the cases made active had been dormant for as long as six years, he said.

Tibbo said the department also insisted on deadlines and screening interviews in August, September and this month, effectively "obstructing and interfering" with his preparation for the appeal hearings of the families.

He called it a "blatant tactic" to disrupt his ability to provide effective legal representation to his clients.

The families, who shot to fame after their role in sheltering Snowden in 2013 was made public, are currently having their asylum claim appeals heard at the Torture Claims Appeal Board. Their asylum claims were all rejected by the Director of Immigration in May. 

A first hearing was held in July, and subsequent hearings are scheduled for this month and next.

Tibbo also revealed that new asylum claims made for the families' three children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have been rejected.-RTHK

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