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Figueroa permitted to listen in on judicial hearing

After a petition was started urging the court to allow Langley father José Figueroa to use Skype to view an upcoming judicial hearing,it was announced that he may listen to the proceedings by phone. Figueroa is afraid to leave the sanctuary of Walnut Grove Lutheran church where he took refuge last October after the federal government decided to deport him to El Salvador. - Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times file photo
After a petition was started urging the court to allow Langley father José Figueroa to use Skype to view an upcoming judicial hearing,it was announced that he may listen to the proceedings by phone. Figueroa is afraid to leave the sanctuary of Walnut Grove Lutheran church where he took refuge last October after the federal government decided to deport him to El Salvador.
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times file photo

Jose Figueroa will be able to listen in on his own judicial review, which takes place at the Federal Court in Vancouver on Monday.

Figueroa has been living in sanctuary at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church ever since the Canadian Border Security Agency ordered a warrant for his arrest to be detained and deported to El Salvador seven months ago.

Despite a Supreme Court ruling in his favour, allowing him to stay in Canada until this court hearing, the CBSA officers have continued to watch Figueroa inside the church, looking to arrest him if he steps outside, he says.

This situation made it impossible for him to attend his own court case in fear he would be arrested and detained.

An online petition was started a month ago asking for Figueroa to be able to view his hearing via Skype. More than 250 people put their names on the petition which was handed to the courts this week.

“As a result of the efforts with the petition to the Federal Court asking to allow me to participate in my own judicial review, along with my own letter to the court I was notified at 1:12 p.m. (Tuesday) that they have decided to allow me to be connected with the court room via telephone,” Figueroa said.

“This is a huge victory for us which gives us some hope,  but we need to continue struggling.”

The judicial review is to see if the courts will allow Figueroa to stay in Canada on compassionate grounds.

Immigration Canada ordered Figueroa deported in 2010.

He and his wife came to Canada legally, 14 years ago. All three of their children were born at Langley Memorial Hospital and up until the arrest warrant, Figueroa was working to support his family.

Immigration Canada wants to deport him because of his support as a university student for a militant group during the civil war.

That militant group, FMLN, is now the democratic government of El Salvador.

Figueroa’s pastor, his family, other pastors from churches around Metro Vancouver and numerous other supporters will attend his hearing to support him.

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