A Christian minister who fled persecution in Indonesia only to wind up in a federal holding cell for more than two years was ordered released along with two others after the ACLU/SC sued on their behalf.

Rev. Raymond Soeoth was jailed in 2004 after he appealed his asylum claim. A judge called the government's claim that he posed a flight risk "disingenuous."

"This is a victory for our clients who have been cut off from their families and livelihoods for years," said ACLU/SC staff attorney Ahilan Arulanantham. "It also sends a strong message to the government that it should provide hearings to the many other immigrants in indefinite detention who deserve to be released."

The three men had been held between two and four and a half years without a hearing. In the past two years, the ACLU has won the release of more than a dozen immigrants held indefinitely.

The ACLU/SC, ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project and Stanford Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic were co-counsel on the men's cases.