Immigration detainees go on aborted hunger strike at DOC

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DOC Major Antone Aguon said they are not yet considering this a hunger strike for now.

Three immigration detainees who went on a hunger strike last Friday are now in discussions with Immigration after a day and a half of refusing to eat.

A Russian and two Chinese nationals being held at the Department of Corrections Hagatna Detention facility began refusing meals last Friday.

DOC Major Antone Aguon said they are not yet considering this a hunger strike for now.

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“In order for it to be a hunger strike, they must refuse 9 meals and not eating for 72 hours. That’s not what happened in this case. They did refuse to eat. However, they are eating now, Aguon said.

According to a source, their refusal to eat was prompted by how long they have been in custody awaiting deportation. According to the source, the three detainees just want to go home.

Aguon says their issues have already been brought up to immigration.

“I don’t know the specifics of these three individuals. All I know is that they are waiting to go home and they want to leave but again their issue has to do with immigration. Their issues have been brought up to immigration. I’m not sure what all their issues are but it has to do with basically their immigration status. And so, immigration has been informed and they are dealing with their particular issues accordingly,” Aguon said.

The source tells PNC that the Russian immigrant identified as Pavel Belov has been detained and was supposed to be deported six months ago while the two Chinese nationals, identified by the source as Lee Fu Le and Zhang Cheng Duo, have been waiting two months for deportation.

While Aguon could not confirm their identities, he tells PNC that refusal of food by some inmates or detainees is not uncommon.

“It’s not uncommon for some inmates or prisoners to be upset with their confinement or have some issues that they feel have not been addressed so it’s not uncommon for inmates to refuse their meals. But again, as to DOC’s policy, in order to constitute a hunger strike, they must have refused their meals for at least 72 hours or 9 meals

Aguon says if that does happen they meet with the prisoner to address the issues and remedy it. For this particular case, he says the three immigration detainees resumed eating on Sunday.

Aguon could not comment on whether the three immigration detainees’ issues with their deportation has to do with the ongoing COVID pandemic and travel restrictions to their home countries.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.