Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Fair Go goes Overboard

Refugee Muhammad Faisal, in the red, has been granted a permanent protection visa after almost six years of detention on the island of Nauru.*

He was originally found by the immigration department to have genuine fears of persecution if he returned to Iraq. An ASIO ruling overrode those concerns, deeming him a security risk.

Unfortunately for him and his lawyers the nature of his adverse security assessment was not something he was allowed to see . Added to that were difficulties associated with the distance and status of Nauru where he was permanently held in custody. This explains the many years of his open ended incarceration and partly associated mental illness.

His connection with Scott Parkin is an interesting one. In December 2005, lawyers acting for Parkin lodged a Federal Court challenge seeking to quash his own adverse security assessment and Faisals. Parkin's lawyers were also acting for another Iraqi refugees, Mohammed Sagar who has also been held in immigration detention after receiving an adverse security assessments from ASIO.

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews says due process in Muhammad Faisal's case has been followed. When due process excludes the individuals right to know why he or she has been subjected to punitive treatment, including indefinite detention, it is very hard to see how. An unaccountable secret service is a feature of governments that Australia claims to be strongly opposed to . Certainly not part of any truly democratic tradition and something to be protected from.

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