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Press Release – Community Protests Abuse of Immigrants in Butler County Jail, Deportation of Key Witness

Update: Dec 18, 2020

CONTENT WARNING: gun violence

We’re sad to report that Mory Keita, a key witness in the recent assaults at the Butler County Jail, has been deported. 

Lawyers were successful at securing a court order for Mory to stay when he was en route, but ICE agents ignored the judge and made Mory leave the U.S. owned plane.So many people like Mory have been unjustly deported and separated from their families. We keep them in our hearts as we continue the work to create a more just immigration system.

Press Release: Dec 14, 2020

As ICE moved to deport a key witness in a civil rights lawsuit filed against Butler County Jail, IJPC joined almost 50 people gathered outside the facility Thursday night to protest ongoing abuses of detainees in the facility.

Immigrant youth, community leaders, and advocates rallied to show solidarity following reports of severe physical violence, medical neglect, and racist and anti-Muslim harassment at Butler County Jail, detailed in a civil rights lawsuit and an open demand letter signed by 50+ men detained at Butler County Jail.

Ericka Curran, University of Dayton School of Law

Shortly after the lawsuit’s filing, ICE transferred key witness Mory Keita and scheduled his immediate removal. Advocates called for Representative Beatty, and Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman to halt the deportation.

In a statement read at the event, lead plaintiff Bayong Brown Bayong said:

“I came to the U.S. seeking safety, security and peace, but that is not what I have found…I fear for my life and the safety of my fellow immigrant detainees here.”

Their lawsuit alleges a pattern of physical assaults, threats, and racial epithets. Bayong and his co-plaintiff Ahmed Adem are African immigrants. Adem is a Muslim. During one of these physical attacks, a corrections officer allegedly attempted to shove Adem’s prayer rug into the toilet.

Maryam Abidi, CAIR-Ohio

Maryam Abidi, Civil Rights Associate for the Council on American Islamic Relations, Ohio (CAIR-Ohio) said: 

“We must understand that the unjust immigration system, Islamophobia, and anti-Blackness that we see from our immigration and policing, are all part of one system. We must fight all of them together. Otherwise, we won’t be able to protect the Bayongs and Ahmeds of today, nor of tomorrow.”

This was the third International Human Rights Day event held at Butler County Jail. Speakers connected the violence at Butler County Jail to abuses in detention centers across the nation. One speaker outlined the multiple international treaties violated by the conduct alleged in the complaint, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention Against Torture.

The event was hosted by CAIR-Ohio, the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center’s Youth Educating Society, and the Interreligious Task Force on Central America. 

People are encouraged to continue calling Representative Joyce Beatty, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Senator Rob Portman to prevent the deportation of key witness, Mory Keita. Read more about Mory Keita and ICE’s deportation plan.

Sandra Ramirez, IJPC YES – Youth Educating Society

Closing the event, Sandra Ramirez, Immigration Program Organizer for the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, said:

“These immigrants and families breathe the same air we do. They see the same sunset in the morning and stars at night. They are nothing different. They are human, with the same human dignity that we all deserve.”