Edison protester remains in jail

Via Home News Tribute
08/08/2006


EDISON
— Rajnikant Parikh, the man whose encounter with township police
on July 4 sparked a protest and counter-protest rallies last week, is
being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North
Brunswick, pending deportation, which one government official called
“imminent.”

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He has been held in the facility since Wednesday, when he was arrested at the rally, immigration officials said yesterday.

Parikh spoke with his American-born wife, Julie Patel, for about five minutes on the telephone on Sunday.

Authorities said Parikh violated immigration law by using multiple identities — an allegation his attorney denies.

Paula
Grenier, public affairs officer for the U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement office in Boston, which has jurisdiction in New Jersey,
said: “Parikh was on an outstanding deportation order passed in 2005,
and on that he was arrested. It doesn’t matter whether he is married to
an American-born citizen. He is charged with violation of immigration
law.”

However, his lawyer, Jonathan Saint-Preux of Irvington,
said Parikh is a victim of a misunderstanding, and he plans to file
motions to re-open Parikh’s case.

The rally Wednesday was called
to protest a July 4 incident in which Parikh alleged that he was struck
by Edison police officer Michael Dotro during an unauthorized fireworks
display in the township. Parikh was charged with assault on a police
officer at the fireworks display.

The counter-protest last week was staged by people supporting the police.

Saint-Preux
denied the multiple-identity allegation, though he did indicate
yesterday that authorities contend Prikh’s fingerprints match prints
taken in 1995 under a different name.

“He does not have multiple identities,” said the attorney.

According
to Saint-Preux, Parikh at one time was ordered to leave the country,
and did so. But, according to Saint-Preux, Parikh was allowed to return
to the United States legally.

While Saint-Preux believes Parikh
will be cleared of charges, the government thinks otherwise. “His
deportation is imminent” said an officer at the Newark district office
of the the ICE, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security.

According
to an ICE spokesman, people arrested by the department are placed in
custody where there is space available. Normally detainees are housed
in Elizabeth, but because of space needs Parikh is being housed in
Middlesex County.

Saint-Preux said yesterday he expected it would take at least two weeks for his client’s case to be heard.

Parikh’s wife, Julie Patel, said yesterday she talked to her husband “for less than five minutes in the early evening.”

Patel directed questions about her husband’s legal battles to Saint-Preux.

Meanwhile,
officials in Edison continued to study whether anyone in the township
was informed of the pending arrest of Parikh by ICE agents at the Aug.
2 rally. ICE spokesmen said they worked closely with Edison police to
make the arrest, but Edison officials last week said they were unaware
of ICE’s plan to arrest Parikh at the rally.

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