Jamaican man fights deportation

By Maria Kandjungu

A Jamaican man convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for a relatively minor drug-related offence is fighting against being deported from Namibia as a condition for his release on probation.  

The 39-year-old Roukon Miller, who is lawfully married to a Namibian citizen, was arrested in November 2018 and sentenced to two years in prison for being in possession of three plants of marijuana found in his house.

After serving half of the two-year sentence, Miller was granted probation, provided that he return to Jamaica, a condition that he and his Namibian wife are currently appealing, citing his legal residential status in Namibia.

Other conditions accompanying his probation include that Miller is not allowed to return to Namibia during the period of his probation, that is before 6 December 2019, and that any violation of the conditions could lead to him being taken back to prison to serve the rest of the sentence.

Jamaican honorary consul in Namibia Earle Taylor, who has been helping the couple with their appeal for Miller to serve his probation in Namibia, told Confidente that the deportation of Miller would be unwarranted and unlawful.

He noted that the condition of deportation was both unreasonable and unjustified under the current law, which he says recognises foreign nationals who are lawfully and in good faith married to a Namibian citizen, as domicile who should be treated as a Namibian.

With reference to Namibia’s Immigration Control Act of 1993, Taylor noted that “On the basis of the Namibian law, Mr Miller is domiciled in Namibia, and his parole probation should under normal circumstances be served in Namibia.”

The Jamaican representative added that keeping Miller on probation while subjecting him to deportation was double punishment for one crime.

“Several efforts have been made to alert authority of wrongdoing, to no vail. I think this is not such a big issue and I wish to resolve it before it gets out of hand,” he noted, adding that the immigration officials involved in the case appear unwilling to validate Miller’s status of domicile and seem to be condoning what seems to be irregular in terms of common law.

Roukon’s wife, Landie Miller, told Confidente she felt pressurised by immigration officials who she said have been forcing her to declare their marriage fake and to state on record that she is being paid to be married to him.

She said the officials who confiscated her marriage certificate accused her of lying about the marriage during what she described as an intense and very confusing interrogation.

She said seeing her husband arrested four months after their wedding brought so much strain on the new marriage. She further appealed that deporting Miller would affect not just him, but their children and their wider family.

“I don’t understand why they want to deport him when he can be on probation here,” Landie said.

“I am stressed and confused. I had to take up three jobs to take care of our children. I constantly find myself regretting ever getting married because this has been hard for me and I just want him to come home.”

Despite having been granted probation in October by the Release Board of the Namibian Correctional Services that expired on the 06th of December, Miller is still being held by the immigration officials.

Acting executive director and chief of immigration Nehemia Nghishekwa said they will keep Miller in custody until such time that his appeal is finalised with the correctional services department, as the condition of probation came from the Ministry of Safety and Security, who also ordered his probation release.

“The conditions are from the parole board and we have no influence over that. The conditions that were given to us are that he must leave the country and if we release him in the street, they will re-arrest him because he will be in the country illegally,” Nghishekwa said.

“We are not in the business to establish whether the conditions given are contravening the law or not. They (Safety and Security Ministry) are the ones who approved the probation and issued the conditions, engage them.”

Head of the Namibian Correctional Services Central Staff Directorate, Commissioner Sam Shalulange however stated that Miller’s probation has expired and whatever happens to him from now on is between him and Immigrations.

“We gave the conditions of deportation because he was not registered as a Namibian. At time of arrest he was a foreigner. Now whether he holds the status of domicile or not is up to immigration to decide,” Shalulange stated.

“There have been ups and downs with the family that have appealed and wants him out, but he is not under our care anymore. His sentence… probation and the conditions that we gave expired on 06 December. Immigration must now decide what happens to him.”