After serving a 20 year jail sentence for drug trafficking, and then being held illegally for almost three years by a Barbados Government that refused to obey a Supreme Court ruling, Raul Garcia walked free yesterday.
Barbados Free Press published over 20 articles about Garcia in the past year alone. The U.S. State Department issued a Human Rights Report criticising Barbados for continuing to illegally hold Garcia. The Barbados Bar Association took up his cause.
And still the government continued to hold Garcia against the order of the Supreme Court.
We celebrate today with Raul Garcia, and you know that the Bajan news media will focus on the joy of his release until public interest fades. There will be a few stories later on to say how Garcia is making out… but Bajans should continue to think about how our government ignored the Rule of Law. That is the big story here because it happens so frequently on this little rock that those in power develop an attitude that they are above the law. That’s the real story of Raul Garcia.
Garcia a free man
by Emmanuel Joseph
High Court judge approves Garcia’s release to rural family
Tonight, for the first time in almost a quarter of a century, Raul Garcia will sleep in a bed that is not owned by the state.
His 20 years of jail time for drug trafficking and more than three years of immigration detention, pending his deportation, came to an end just after 3 p.m. today, when the Cuban national, with hands raised, walked out of the Supreme Court, unescorted for the first time in seven months of hearings.
Garcia emerged from the Number 9 High Court Chambers with a broad smile, never before seen since proceedings began in front of Justice Margaret Reifer, hugging members of the Prison Ministries who had been supporting him in his quest to be freed from detention.
After spending “a few minutes” immediately outside the doors of the courtroom with his team of lawyers, the family with whom he will live and Prison Ministry officials, an emotional and visibly overwhelmed Garcia, spoke briefly with reporters on the steps of the judicial complex.
Struggling to fight back the tears, the Cuba-born man’s voice was heard in public for the first time since his “incarceration” for the past 23 years…
Thanks to Barbados Today for the photo. You can read Barbados Today’s full story here.