Sunday, July 27, 2003


Refugee advocates have accused the Immigration department of ignoring 
its own procedures and the legal rights of detainees as the department 
resorts to the forcible deportation of asylum seekers. A federal court 
injunction prevented the deportation of an Algerian man on Saturday only 
twenty minutes (20 minutes) before the flight was to depart Perth 
international airport.

The man was being forced onto the plane when the phone call from the
government solicitor stopped the deportation.

The attempted deportation followed two other forcible deportations last
week - a seven year old Iranian girl was deported on Wednesday night and 
Ali Ali Mazhar, the bother in-law of Ali Bakhtiyari was deported on 
Thursday night.

The Algerian man was taken on Friday night by chartered flight from
Villawood, Sydney to Perth detention centre on Friday night even though 
he had made application to the Minister of Immigration to consider 
further evidence of his claims for protection. Since his first 
application to the Refugee Review Tribunal, his two brothers were shot 
dead in January this year and another brother tortured by police in 

The attempted deportation was carried out despite assurances from the
government that it does not remove asylum seekers while such 
determinations (48B) are being made.

The Algerian man told immigration officials at Villawood of his 
application, but was told, " I don't care what you have. You are going 
today." His request to phone for legal assistance was refused. Both the 
Sydney and Canberra immigration offices were made aware of his application.

He was forcibly taken to Bankstown airport at 11.00pm after fighting
attempts to forcibly sedate him at Villawood detention centre. Up to 
eight guards and a male nurse were used to restrain him at Villawood. 
Two guards and the male nurse accompanied the Algerian on the chartered 
flight to Perth.

It was last minute action in the federal court on Saturday morning that
resulted in an injunction being granted to prevent the deportation.

"It is a disgrace that Federal Court injunctions are needed in these
circumstances. The government seems willing to ignore refugee rights in
order to get the outcomes that the government wants. The government is
trying to get around its own laws " said Ian Rintoul a spokesperson for 
the Refugee Action Coalition.

"The forcible deportations are deliberately being used to intimidate 
Afghan, Iranian and other refugees and coerce them into accepting 
packages to be returned to unstable and insecure countries," he said.

Legal action is being taken in the High Court on Monday to challenge the
legality of the deportation of a 7 year old Iranian girl from Baxter 
last Thursday.  She was deported without the consent of her father who 
was being held in an isolation cell at the Baxter detention centre. 
Refugee advocates are certain that the High Court or family Court would 
have issued an injunction to prevent her deportation

Refugee advocates this week will step up their campaign against the
deportation of asylum seekers. There are concerns that the government 
will try to thwart orders from the Family Court on Monday to release 
children from detention by deporting the children or the family.

For more information phone Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul 0417 
275 713 (For comment concerning the attempted deportation of the 
Algerian man, contact Frances Milne ph 02 9810 7812)



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