US lawyers come to the aid of illiterate Jamaican

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Lawyers in the US have come to the defence of a Jamaican man who has been languishing in prison due to challenges with his asylum hearing as he is illiterate and has a severe speech impediment.
He has been identified as 42-year-old farm worker Derrick Cotterel.
Mr. Cotterel had been living in the United States for 10 years picking citrus in Florida and apples in West Virginia before his arrest last year on robbery charges.
He ended up in immigration custody in Pennsylvania but judges there struggled for nearly a year to understand his request for political asylum as he speaks Jamaican patois and his speech is affected by a severe stutter that makes him nearly impossible to understand.
According to reports out of the US, Mr. Cotterel can neither read nor write.
It is reported that the Jamaican remained in York County Prison, from July last year until May this year while frustrated judges continued his bail and asylum hearings.
An immigration attorney and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have now offered to assist him.                
The ACLU agreed to file a friend-of-the-court brief that argues for the government to provide lawyers to disabled immigrants, based on fairness and disability law.
It also wants the government to provide a speech professional to determine whether an electronic device or other tools can help the Jamaican prisoner communicate to the court.
Last week lawyers for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said they would not oppose the motion for another asylum hearing.
In the meantime, Mr. Cotterrel remains in prison as he is yet to take up his $1,500 bail.
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