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  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

ACLU of Colorado Sues ICE for Information about Death of Iranian Man at Detention Facility 

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit this morning seeking previously requested records related to the arrest, detention, and subsequent death of Kamyar Samimi, an Iranian man who died on December 2, 2017 while in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, a for-profit detention center operated by GEO Group, Inc.

Mr. Samimi came to the United States as a student in 1976 and became a Legal Permanent Resident in 1978. ICE agents arrested him at his home on November 17, 2017 and kept him in ICE detention, where he died 15 days later. ICE still has not provided a thorough explanation as to what caused Mr. Samimi’s death. Meanwhile, multiple recent reports and complaints have highlighted concerns about medical care in ICE detention.

“It has now been sixteen months since Mr. Samimi died, and ICE continues to keep the community in the dark about this tragedy,” said ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Arash Jahanian. “All we know is that ICE arrested a man who had lived in the U.S. for over four decades, and 15 days later he died in ICE’s care. The public deserves to know more and this lawsuit seeks that information.”

The ACLU of Colorado filed its first Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on December 20, 2017. In response, ICE produced only five pages, which had nothing to do with Mr. Samimi’s death. The ACLU of Colorado appealed and ICE responded on July 3, 2018, stating that its investigation of Mr. Samimi’s death had been completed and more documents would be forthcoming. But ICE has not produced any additional documents, nor has it indicated when it might be doing so.  

“Immigration detention facilities, like the one operated by GEO Group in Aurora, are all too often cloaked in secrecy, offering little to no transparency into the way detainees are treated within their walls,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “We are filing suit to further the public’s right to know what goes on in these secretive taxpayer-funded institutions.”

Resources:

View the FOIA request:

https://aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2017-12-20-ICE-Jahanian-FOIA-records-request.pdf

Human Rights Watch Report (5/17): Systemic Indifference: Dangerous and Substandard Medical Care in US Immigration Detention

ACLU Report (2/16): Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignored Deaths in Detention

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The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.



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