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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Judge says released ICE detainee will not go back to Calhoun County Jail

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A federal district judge says an Iraqi man who was being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Calhoun County Jail should not go back into custody there.  

U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy had ordered ICE to release Fawzi Zaya in April because his obesity and diabetes put him at great risk of "irreparable injury" or death from the coronavirus.

He was released despite a history of serious crimes, including a second degree murder charge in 2008, as well as ICE's contention that he is a flight risk. 

Subsequent to Zaya's release, Judge Levy indicated she would not consider returning him to the Calhoun County Jail unless ICE agreed to both place him in an individual cell, as well as implement testing of every detainee in the Calhoun County Jail.

In its response, ICE said it could place him in an individual cell but would not test every detainee for COVID-19.

Judge Levy also ordered two other ICE detainees in the jail released earlier this week. Both have diabetes.

The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU, also seeks the release of all medically vulnerable ICE detainees from the Calhoun County Jail. The ACLU says it has received a list of potentially medically vulnerable detainees from ICE.

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