By Victor Ochieng
Latest reports have it that the US government has deported a Congolese Christian immigrant who’s ailing from serious kidney failure among other health challenges. Besides the fear of going back to a country that’s war-ravaged, the man could face persecution for having said the truth about the troubles facing his country.
Gilles Bikindou, 58, was last Friday taken out of his holding cell in Atlanta at exactly 2 a.m. before he was forced to embark on a trip back to his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, following a successful process by the US government to put together the paperwork to have him deported, reports The News Observer.
According to an account shared by Bikindou’s lawyer, Hans Linnartz, his client originally set foot in the US in 2004 for education in a pursuit that was backed by the Congolese government. Unfortunately, the man fell out with his home country’s government under President Denis Sassou Nguesso after he declined to give false testimony about the human rights abuses in his native country.
This prompted the government to order for the withdrawal of the funding for his visa. Consequently, the US government ordered that he leave America in 2006.
Bikindou, aware of what would be awaiting him at home, decided to apply for political asylum, but that was declined.
In January 2010, he received his final deportation order that saw him arrested. A few weeks later, he was released from custody under a supervision order that, at least, allowed him to work and drive.
This also required that he regularly reports to the ICE office in Charlotte, which he did for eight years.
Unknown to Bikindou, the Charlotte ICE office had been busy preparing deportation papers. When they finally had everything ready, he was arrested on January 9 during a meeting at the ICE office. He was last Friday taken from his police cell, flown to Washington before he was put on a flight to Ethiopia and finally to Congo.
“He’s being treated as if they discovered he’s a terrorist or had been convicted of a horrible crime since the last check-in, and none of those are true,” Linnartz told CNN. “We have no clue why all of a sudden they’ve decided to lock him up.”
Besides the worrying persecution prospect there for Bikindou, his health challenges are also likely to impact negatively on his general life.
In a sermon this past Sunday, Stephen Stacks, associate pastor of worship and faith at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church confessed that it had been a difficult week for the church family.
“The powers of this land deported our brother Gilles despite the fact that he did everything right, despite the fact that he faces political persecution where they have sent him, despite the fact that he cannot receive the medical care he needs to live in the Congo. It was an evil thing to do, plain and simple,” Stacks said.
Then he went on to rebuke ICE as “a half-human, half-beast monster straight out of the book of Daniel, bent on doing violence to God’s beloved children like Gilles.”