HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - It's been more than a year since a 70-year-old man sought sanctuary in a Meriden church to stave off deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been seeking to deport Sujitno Sajuti to his native Indonesia, according to the Connecticut Immigration Rights Alliance.

CIRA held a rally at 10 a.m. in Hartford to demand that ICE set Sajuti free.

Sajuti self-incarcerated at the Universalist Church in Meriden back in 2017.

He's been there for a year and four months.

CIRA said Sajuti has lived in Connecticut for 15 years, has few family ties and no means to support himself. He does have a wife, Dahlia.

"Sujitno hasn't lived in Indonesia for 30 years," said Nancy Burton, Unitarian Universalist Church. "He doesn't have any living relatives. He'd be living on the streets there. So, it would be very terrible for him to leave now."

The group said he has served as an educator, mentor and advocate for equality in the West Hartford and greater Hartford communities.

Friday's rally is aimed at getting ICE to approve a stay of removal application for him.

"The application for a stay of removal is sitting on the desk of ICE [Friday] and has been for 10 days," said Diana Blank, staff attorney, New Haven Legal Assistance. "We're urging ICE to grant that stay."

CIRA said ICE has the discretion to free him.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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