MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It has been 365 days since a Mid-South journalist was arrested while covering a protest.
One year later, Manuel Duran is still in ICE custody.
As friends honor his fight for freedom, there are new developments in the case. A high court sent Duran’s case back to the Board of Immigration for review after it ruled the board made mistakes.
Duran’s attorney said his is in an Alabama prison known for holding detainees whose cases are not quickly resolved.
The woman who organized that protest in 2018 also said she feels guilty about his arrest.
She told FOX13 she did everything she could to protect him. She knew he was undocumented.
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“I was still holding on, but they had a handcuff on his hand on mine – his right and left hand. They had to get him. They had to get him,” said Yuleiny Escobar, an activist.
Duran was arrested while covering a protest about immigrants being detained, a protest Escobar organized.
Duran had spent months reporting on what he called a joint operation between ICE and Memphis police. In a sworn statement Duran made days after his arrest, he wrote, “I was scared this would bring me immigration problems…”
Escobar told FOX13 she believes it did.
Duran was charged with disorderly conduct and blocking a passageway or highway. Within hours, his bond was paid and later, his charges were dropped.
But he was not released.
“He didn’t come out. ICE had not beat us to him. They had him from the beginning, since the moment MPD captured him,” Escobar said.
MPD said it does not work with ICE. The public information officer told Duran that in a 2018 text message, which was uncovered by FOX13.
Duran’s legal team said he failed to get notice of his 2007 deportation order, so they filed a motion to reopen his case.
As his lawyers continue to fight for his freedom, Escobar and the others who were arrested alongside him keep reliving that moment.
“It hurts me more than anything this year that my friend has lost in there,” Escobar said.
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