The mother of a gay man who died in a fire in a prison in Honduras has filed suit against the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement amid her claims that he was illegally deported.
Nelson Javier Avila-Lopez came to the U.S. to seek asylum in 2008 to escape gang members who were trying to recruit him, according to Mail Online.
Avila-Lopez missed an immigration court hearing and was ordered to be deported. However, his attorney, Joseph Huprich, filed an emergency motion and Avila-Lopez was granted an emergency stay of deportation.
Ana Lopez claims that even though her son had a stay of deportation, through counsel, ICE deported him anyway to Honduras, where he was "thrown, without formal charges, into the notorious Comayagua prison ... where he suffered unspeakable torture for nearly four months alongside the sadistic criminals that he sought to escape," according to Courthouse News Service.
Avila-Lopez fled to the U.S. when he was 17 after seeing a gang kill his friend and another man, his mother reportedly said. Gang members told authorities Avila-Lopez was responsible for one of the killings and he feared for his life.
The country's intolerance of gay people was another reason Avila-Lopez sought asylum.
Avila-Lopez died in Comayagua prison in early 2012, in a fire that killed 357 other prisoners with him, according to his mother, who also said that her son missed his immigration court hearing because his attorney did not tell him he was due in court.
Ana Lopez seeks damages for negligence, wrongful death and due process violations.