Friday, September 07, 2007

African man sues over immigration detention

A former Sierra Leonean coup leader who lives in Austin is challenging his detention by immigration officials.

A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of 39-year-old Sam Kambo says his detention is a violation of his constitutional rights.

Immigration Judge Gary Burkholder in June rejected the government's claim that Kambo had participated in a 1992 mass murder in his native country. He ruled that Kambo should be allowed to stay in the country.

Kambo was one of eight soldiers who led a bloodless coup in Sierra Leone in April 1992. He later served as energy minister with the National Provisional Ruling Council government.

He came to the United States in 1994 to study at the University of Texas. After graduating, he stayed in Austin on a series of work visas, most recently at the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Kambo remains in jail in San Antonio on a government appeal of the ruling. His wife and four children live in Austin.

He was arrested in October 2006 when he went for an interview at federal immigration offices in San Antonio related to his application for permanent residency.

His attorney says Kambo won his case and should be freed.

News 8 Austin | 24 Hour Local News | LOCAL NEWS | African man sues over immigration detention