“Expired passports delay return of 5 Muslims”

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A new excuse has surfaced as to why five Muslims detained in Caracas, Venezuela, cannot be deported to Trinidad.

The ever silent Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dennis Moses, remains optimistic that the Trinidad and Tobago nationals imprisoned in Venezuela for two and a half years will be returning home “in short order.”

Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference on Thursday, Moses said the travel documents of three of these people have lapsed and this is preventing their “eventual travel back to Trinidad and Tobago.”

The detainees are Dominic Pitilal, Wade Charles, Leslie Daisley, Andre Battersby and Asim Luqman.

Moses stated, “We’ll need to issue new documents, valid documents.” He said a meeting scheduled between officials from the TT embassy in Caracas and officials from the Servicio Bolivariano de Intelligencia National (the agency holding the five men) and the Venezuelan immigration authority did not materialise as planned on Wednesday.

He said his understanding was had that meeting happened, the five men could have returned home either today or next Monday.

“We are very hopeful that shortly such a meeting will be held and that will allow the actual issuance of the travel documents.

Moses said while embassy officials have been treating with these detained people on an ongoing basis, they “have not been allowed visiting rights over the past year but we are hopeful that shortly that will take place.” Reiterating that the five men have been receiving whatever consular services they require from the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in Caracas, Moses said he was advised that the men are in good health.

Acting Attorney General Stuart Young said things are in place for when the five men return to Trinidad.

Stating that legal officers and national security officers have been properly briefed on the men’s situation, he said, “When the Venezuelan authorities return them to Trinidad, we will deal with our nationals as they arrive.” Young added this would involve some kind of debriefing but he declined to give any further details, citing national security reasons.

Dennis Moses

Dennis Moses

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