27 Nov 2002

Dozens of Asian overstayers face criminal charges in Marshalls

4:57 pm on 27 November 2002

The State Prosecutor of the Marshall Islands, Andie Driu, says she intends to file criminal cases against another 50 Asian overstayers.

Ms Driu says there are already two men serving 3 year sentences after being found guilty of contravening visa requirements.

She says the government has decided to pursue criminal cases as deportation requires the Marshalls to pay for all costs.

Ms Driu says 15 cases are pending and another 50 are yet to be filed.

Deportation also faces another difficulty, because Guam, Kiribati and Fiji have denied transit visas to the overstayers.

As the three countries are the primary routes to Asia, the overstayers are stuck in the Marshall Islands.

Ms Driu says the imprisoned overstayers should be able to organise visas and to travel home by the end of their prison term.