Neza Family Reports Prison Visit by Rep. Gohmert

By Greg Moses

The family of imprisoned asylum seeker Rrustem Neza tells the Texas Civil Rights Review that he was visited Friday by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Lufkin).

The visit comes as welcome news for Rrustem’s brother Xhemal (pronounced Jehmal) Neza who was shocked by the way Rrustem looked during a visit on Thursday.

After seeing his brother Rrustem at the LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana on Thursday evening, Xhemal drove to Dallas Friday morning to swear out an affidavit of his impressions.

“When I saw him he was wasted,” says Xhemal about Rrustem in the affidavit provided by attorney John Wheat Gibson of Dallas. “He was wearing the same clothes he had on when he was arrested two weeks ago. His face looked as if he were dead. It made me very weak to see his face.”

The affidavit alleges that since his arrest on Aug. 5 Rrustem has been kept in “a hole” or solitary confinement in a room of about three feet by six feet with a slit on the door but no window to the outside.

“I believe Congressman Gohmert saved Rrustem’s life by his intervention,” says Friday’s affidavit. Xhemal says he approached the facility two times prior to Thursday seeking to visit his brother, but it was only after Rep. Gohmert’s office stepped in that a successful visit was completed.

The Neza brothers applied for asylum in the USA after they fled Albania following a political assassination. Xhemal’s asylum was granted, but Rrustem’s was denied. The family believes the difference in treatment can be explained chiefly by the difference in attorneys handling the cases.

Rrustem and his brothers fear that a forced return to Albania would endanger his life.

The LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana is operated by the GEO Group, Inc. under a “perpetual” contract between the LaSalle Economic Development District (LEDD) of LaSalle Parish and the federal bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

A recent $30 million dollar expansion of the former juvenile facility has increased the capacity of the center from 416 beds to 1,160, according to news clips archived online at privateci.org.

“The contract is expected to generate approximately $23.5 million in annualized operating revenues for GEO at full occupancy,” stated a Business Wire press release of July, 2007.

The Texas Civil Rights Review will continuing to monitor developments in this case.

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