Acting Justice of Lobatse High Court, Godfrey Radijeng, has ordered that government should not remove from the jurisdiction of Botswana 10 Eritrean footballers who are seeking political asylum.
“The respondents shall not remove from the jurisdiction of Botswana certain Eritrean nationals, all members of the Eritrean national football team, 10 in number, who on or about October 14, 2015 presented themselves to the Botswana government officials at Francistown seeking political asylum (the asylum seekers),” ordered Radijeng.
The matter is put down for status hearing on December 11, 2015 at 9am.
Radijeng also ruled that the order together with all originating processes and any pleadings filed by the respondents shall be served upon the asylum seekers by the applicants within 14 days of this order. “The applicants’ legal representatives shall have access to the asylum seekers.”
Human rights attorney, Dick Bayford, represented the Eritrean 10 while Thato Mujaji appeared for the state.
This was a consent order. The Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (EMDHR) through Bayford filed an urgent application challenging government’s intention to deport 10 Eritrean footballers seeking political asylum.
This follows the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi’s utterance on a local radio station that the government would deport the players who were part of the country’s senior national team that lost to the Zebras on Tuesday in the 2018 World Cup qualifying game.
Abane Ghebremestel of EMDHR last week said that they were very disappointed in the minister’s radio comments hence they instructed their lawyer to file an urgent application.
He also expressed concern that they were being denied access to the players and were planning on approaching the courts to intervene.
“We want the courts to order that our lawyer be granted access to the players so that he can represent them knowing their side of the story,” he said.