IMES blog on the refugees/migrants, again
by Robert Hamd
A Catalytic Moment
I first learned about Sami* many years ago when a dear friend of mine came to me, pleading for my help. Sami had been languishing in a Lebanese jail for months without any due process. His crime? A lapsed residency permit. Lebanese police routinely stop African and Asian migrants, and refugee men and women demanding to see their residency papers (ikama). In many cases, poor and vulnerable people do not have proper papers, and when Sami was stopped, he had two choices: pay the “freedom fee” or go to jail. Unable to come up with the $600 dollars needed to secure his release, he found himself in a cold, dank, and dark freeway underpass structure that was converted into a jail by Lebanese Internal Security.
What could I do?
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