Indian filmmaker to stay in jail in US

By Arun Kumar,IANS,

Washington : Indian documentary filmmaker Vijay Kumar, arrested in Houston for allegedly carrying “jihadist” literature and brass knuckles in his checked baggage, will remain behind bars without bail but can leave “voluntarily” if his case is resolved within 120 days.

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Kumar, 40, who relied on the US Department of Homeland Security’s travel rules to carry the items prohibited in Texas, was Thursday denied bail by a Houston judge and ordered to stay in jail on federal immigration charges until allegations against him are resolved, Houston Chronicle reported.

A resident of Malad in Mumbai, Kumar was detained on his way to Canada Aug 20 by Houston airport security who said he was acting suspiciously. A search turned up brass knuckles, which are illegal in Texas, prosecutors said.

Kumar bonded out Aug 23 and surrendered his passport to Harris County officials as a condition of his bail. When released, Kumar’s visa was revoked. He was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, because he had neither a passport nor a visa.

At a hearing Thursday, a federal immigration judge refused to set a bail for Kumar. Federal officials would not say Thursday why Kumar’s visa was revoked, the Chronicle said.

John Connolly, assistant agent in charge of ICE in Houston, told the Chronicle that Kumar is not the subject of a homeland security investigation.

Kumar turned down an offer to plead guilty in exchange for time served because he did not want to jeopardise his chances to return to America, his attorney Grant Scheiner said. Now he faces the same dilemma. If his case is resolved within four months, he can leave voluntarily and can ask to return.

If the case takes longer, he will be deported after it is complete, squelching his chances to return.