Rupert Lulofs is the South African national who told the media yesterday that he was stranded here in Belize after being kept at the Belize Central Prison for too long. After hearing his story, several persons began reaching out to him to render assistance. Lulofs gave the media an update today to say that he is now being legally represented to sue the Belize Central Prison and the Government of Belize. His saga began in January 2020 when he was picked up for immigration offences and was sent to prison for 7 days. Someone either at the prison or in the government dropped the ball, and Lulofs stayed locked up for over one year. By the time he got out, his Mexican visa had expired and told the media that he was stranded in Belize. Local authorities had given him until today to leave Belize.
Rupert Lulofs, South African: “Today I had a very interesting phone call from quite a prominent person within the Immigration Department who said that the immigration officer that was dealing with my case, the junior immigration officer should have escalated my story or my case up to somebody more senior and shouldn’t have taken it upon himself to come to a decision because this person actually said to me that there’s protocol or there’s major questioning and investigation into each case. Furthermore the law of actually any country is that whatever sentence is handed down in a court of law overrides what any department including immigration has ruled and the magistrate was very clear one week in Belize Central Prison and then taken to the Belize Mexican border which should have been followed and is not and again that is a huge human rights violation, it borders on human trafficking.”
After Lulofs’ story was aired he was also contacted by the Belize Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The IOM reached out to him and offered to pay for his travels back home to South Africa. The offer was made against the usual policies, and so the international headquarters had to give the green light in Lulofs case. Things took a turn at this point as Lulofs rejected the offer to be sent back to South Africa.
Rupert Lulofs, South African:“I have approached a prominent Belizean attorney who has agreed to take my case. I’m seeing him again on Monday so the wheels of justice are actually turning. According to him I have a very strong case. Yes today is day zero, I have heard nothing from the Belizean government in any form, they haven’t reached out to me. I came from South Africa because there was no future for me in South Africa. I will be leaving the country, I would like to go to Cancun Mexico as part of that it would mean – which I am in the process of organizing that. I am very pleased to be going to Cancun Mexico because then I can be a watch dog for Belize. This has kind of taught me and the love I’ve got from the Belizean people have prompted me to complete my law degree which I started in South Africa.”
Reporter: Are you not concerned that perhaps you may be picked up by the immigration department or by the police considering the fact that your time is now expired in Belize according to your expulsion notice ?
Rupert Lulofs, South African: “Not at this point in time. I think that it would be a very unwise decision of the authorities considering the amount of exposure that I’ve got and my lawyer that I have engaged in has put things in place to make sure, and various other lawyers who have given me their numbers will ensure that it’s not.”
Love News understands that by defying the court order for him to leave the country could land Lulofs back into prison. WE will keep following this story.