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Portsmouth Woman Detained By ICE For More Than Six Months Petitions For Release

Robert Garrova for NHPR
Etty Tham's daughter, Sylvia Parker (Left), sits with her daughter and niece as they discuss Tham's story with Rev. Sandra Pontoh in September 2018

An Indonesian woman detained in a deportation case since last summer is asking a federal judge for her release.

Etty Tham is a resident of Portsmouth and has two grandchildren who are U.S. citizens.

She fled religious persecution in Indonesia almost two decades ago. But her most recent request for asylum was denied.

While on vacation with her family last May, she was arrested at a Border Patrol Checkpoint on Interstate 93 in the White Mountains.

Her lawyer, William Hahn, is petitioning for her release from a jail in Dover. He says the partial government shutdown has made things more complicated.

"I just think that overall there's such a disruption,” Hahn said. “And Etty Tham has now been there for over six months."

Hahn says his client doesn't have a criminal record but is still being held by ICE because they believe her to be a flight risk.

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