Former Child-Soldier Nelson Kargbo Released from Detention
Nelson Kargbo, a refugee from Sierra Leone was finally released from his prolonged detention this week. Earlier this week, Magistrate Judge Brisbois issued his report and recommendation to release Kargbo. Kargbo had been held for over two years by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Minnesota. Despite the fact that he was granted protection under the United Nation’s Convention against Torture on July 30, 2015, ICE did not release him immediately.
“I’m finally home,” stated Nelson Kargbo. “I just want to walk outside with my kids and go play with them at the park. It feels so good to be free.”
In August, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota joined a Habeas Petition filed by the Center for New Americans and Dorsey & Whitney, on behalf of Nelson Kargbo challenging his detention. Kargbo was victimized as a child soldier in Sierra Leone before coming to the United States as a refugee. ICE took him into custody in 2013, and moved to deport him based on his convictions for three misdemeanors from seven to nine years earlier. Kargbo served a total of fourteen days in jail for these offenses, but immigration officials have held him in different county jails for two years while he fought and won his immigration case.
In the report and recommendation Magistrate Judge Brisbois sided with the ACLU-MN, Center for New Americans and Dorsey and recommended that Kargbo be released immediately.
“After working on this case for the past year, I am thrilled that the U.S. Magistrate Judge agreed that Mr. Kargbo has been detained for too long and for no good reason,” stated Becky Cassler, third-year law student at the University of Minnesota and student attorney for Mr. Kargbo. “Now, Mr. Kargbo can finally return to caring for his four children as he’s been desperate to do for the last two years.”
“While we are incredibly pleased that Mr. Kargbo can finally rejoin his family, unfortunately cases like his are not an isolated incidence,” stated Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN. “The government is spending millions of dollars locking up people whose detentions serve no purpose.”