Sunday 23 November 2014

Violent rapist has visa renewed as he cannot be deported

Published 07/06/2014 | 11:57

Mekonnen (Bereket):
Bereket Mekonnen

A VIOLENT rapist who brutally attacked a woman in St Stephen’s Green has had his visa renewed because authorities are not allowed to deport him.

Bereket Mekonnen (25) received a seven-year jail term after being found guilty in 2007 of raping a 42-year-old woman in the city centre park in August 2005.

However, following his release, the Eritrean national cannot be deported home under EU and UN conventions as he is from a war-torn country.

He is understood to be living in the Dublin 8 area after his visa was extended to an unspecified date.

He met his victim in a late-night disco-bar where she was in an intoxicated state.

She drank some of his wine there before leaving and he raped her while she was on her way home.

Authorities here cannot deport him because he is from a war-torn country.

Decisions on whether a person can be deported or not are taken by the Department of Justice in consultation with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

But Mekonnen now has to be kept in Ireland on legal advice because authorities here are bound by EU and UN Conventions in regard to refugees and asylum seekers.

Informed sources have told Mekonnen is also listed on the sex offenders register and his movements are monitored by gardai.

He is also obliged to inform gardai of where he is living. Mekonnen was granted a Stamp 4 visa which allows him to stay in Ireland until a specified date. The Stamp 4 visa also permits a holder to work and study in Ireland for the duration of their stay.

Mekonnen was granted refugee status in August 2005.

Neither the Department of Justice or An Garda Siochana would make any statement in the case, saying they could not comment on individuals.

The sentencing of the Eritrean national for the rape was delayed several times because Mekonnen would either become very violent in court, drunk, or would remove his clothes.

On one occasion he had to be carried kicking and screaming by prison officers across the Four Courts because he was deemed too dangerous to be left in court.

He had become so aggressive that it took six prison officers to subdue him before he was forcefully restrained and carried across back to his waiting cell.

During one of his court appearances, Mekonnen was brought to the building barefoot and dressed only in his underwear.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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