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Angelica and mother released

Published on 30/07/2007

30 July 2007

BRUSSELS (AP) – The wife of Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa appealed to Belgian authorities Monday not to deport an 11-year-old girl and her mother back to Ecuador, away from family and friends.

The two – Ana Cajamarca and her daughter Angelica – were under orders to be deported on Monday because police said they had been living illegally in Belgium for four years.

However, a Brussels court imposed an interim injunction against their immediate deportation after a fresh appeal was made by lawyers for the two.

Geert De Vulder, an interior ministry spokesman, told Belgian media that authorities would respect the injunction and would release the two from custody, pending an appeal.

The two were already on their way to Amsterdam with a police escort to catch a flight to Quito, Ecuador, when the court order was issued.

They were immediately returned to Belgium, De Vulder said.

Their case was taken up by human rights groups and Ecuador’s First Lady, Anne Malherbe, a Belgian, who called for an amnesty and for the two to remain in Belgium, where Angelica’s estranged father still lives.

The two were taken into custody a month ago and have been detained at an asylum centre where they awaited a flight back to Ecuador.

“It is really shocking to see an 11-year-old girl locked up,” Malherbe told VRT Television. “I am ashamed to call myself Belgian.”

Malherbe visited the two detainees Sunday. “Mother and daughter are traumatized,” she said. “This is a terrible case.”

Supporters of the mother and daughter claim the two are established in Belgium and say the girl has been going to school for four years, despite never having claimed residency or asylum.

The two, along with the girl’s father, came to Belgium in 2003 seeking a better life.

The father split with Cajamarca and is now in a relationship with a Belgian national.

The mother is engaged to a Belgian national and intends to marry soon, after finalising her divorce with Angelica’s father, her lawyer, Valentin Henkinbrant, told Belgian daily De Standaard.

Last week, another court threw out an appeal to stop the deportation. Supporters of the mother and daughter appealed to government ministers and King Albert II to stop the deportation.

[Copyright AP 2007]

Subject: Belgian news