Lawyer Ayuba James faces arrest for allegedly harbouring a Sri Lankan national who was on the run from the Malawi Immigration Department.
The migrant identified as Thavaraj Caruppiah was arrested in June last year for allegedly staying in the country without permit, which is contrary to Section 4 subsection 1, and Section 21 subsection 1 as read with Section 21 subsection 3 of the Immigration Act of the Laws of Malawi.
However, Caruppiah obtained a court order against his deportation which the Immigration Department indicates was recently vacated.
According to the National spokesperson for immigration Wellington Chiponde, after the injunction was vacated, Caruppiah went into hiding and he was harboured by his lawyer who was also keeping Caruppiah’s passport.
“When the injunction was successfully vacated by the Department. Mr. Caruppiah went into hiding harboured by his lawyer [and] a certain Pastor until he was arrested this week by the Malawi Police Service,” said Chiponde in a statement.
The Department has since sternly warned members of the general public that harbouring prohibited immigrants or undocumented immigrants is a serious criminal offence.
The Department has added that any person found harbouring illegal migrants will face the long arm of the law.
Caruppiah was deported on Saturday, 23rd September, 2023 through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
Speaking to the local media, Ayuba James, lawyer representing Carrupiah, has said the deportation is against the law because it was stopped by the court order.
However, Chiponde has insisted that the Immigration Department has not broken the law because the court order was vacated.
Lawyer Ayuba James used to be a strong supporter of President Lazarus Chakwera and the Tonse Alliance but since holding dissident views against President Chakwera, Ayuba has been targeted in what people believe is the regime’s way of silencing dissident views to the extent that the Malawi Law Society had placed him on the verge of disbarment.