"Glossy promotions lady" Minister Vanstone belies hideousness of new Deportation

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130
Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

"Glossy promotions lady" Minister Vanstone belies hideousness of new Deportation

Media Release
Wednesday January 12 2005 12:00am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"WA Refugee group Project SafeCom expresses its deep dismay with what is likely to become "today's deportation" of Sudanese man Abdul Khogali."

"While Australia's longest serving "no rights at all" prisoner was snatched from the Villawood detention centre yesterday, the Immigration Minister, who does not get told about the dirty work of her own department, gets the job of telling DIMIA's glossy story - how great Australia's refugee and immigrant intake is. Her words still ring in Australians' ears, telling them last year what good citizens we are with our tremendous numbers of refugee intakes from Sudan."

"Meanshile the Department of Immigration seems to work overtime while every lawyer is still on their Christmas holiday, as now may well become clear: first it was the Bakhtiari family, then it was for the Iranians terrified of returning to torture, once, twice, three times, and then by force, and as we are convinced, with drugging - thereby compromising the ethics of the Nursing profession - and now it's Mr Khogali's turn."

"Once again, Australia deports an asylum seeker who has half of his family living as residents in our country, and who in addition fears repercussions if he returns to his country, because he fled when he refused to obey Sharia Law by complying with a demand to kill someone in Sudan."

"The ethics of Australian asylum applications may now also become clear again: if you're too innocent during your very first application interview with a single DIMIA officer, you seal your fate as an asylum seeker. Additions to the original line-up of persecution facts are, under Australia's approval system, highly unlikely to succeed. This deportation case is another one in a long line-up of cases of which the government says that they have failed because the person is not a refugee, while lawyers and migration agents, as well as thousands of Australians who know the person through their contact and friendships, know what the truth is. Today we have again been guilty of refouling an asylum seeker, perhaps even to his death."

Australia's longest detained asylum seeker faces deportation

Refugee Action Coalition of NSW
January 12, 2005

A Sudanese asylum seeker, Abdul Khogali, who has been in detention for seven years was forcibly removed from Sydney's Villawood detention centre last night (Tuesday night).

The man is Australia's longest detained asylum seeker.

He was placed on a charter flight from Sydney to Perth from where it is expected the government will attempt to deport him to Sudan.

The man had been a police officer in Sudan and fled after he refused to enforce Islamic sharia law which includes the amputation of limbs and public execution.

Detainees at Villawood report that the man was beaten when officers unexpectedly came to remove him from his cell in Villawood last night.

The man's uncle and the uncle's extended family have been accepted as refugees in Australia.

"We are extremely concerned," his uncle, Mr Elmalki, said speaking from his home in Perth. "It is too dangerous for him to be returned to Sudan. It is unthinkable."

"We are very worried about his welfare here and for him in Sudan," he said.

Three years ago, an attempt to deport the man failed when he resisted being sedated prior to deportation.

The Sudanese man was the second asylum seeker to be taken from Villawood last night. An Iranian man was put on an Emirates flight after three previous attempts to deport him through Melbourne failed after the Iranian asylum seeker resisted. There were scuffles when police were called to remove refugee supporters who were leafleting Emirates staff and embarking passengers.

In December 2003, a Sudanese asylum seeker was returned from Tanzania, en route to Sudan, after Sudanese authorities refused to recognise travel documents issued by the Department of Immigration.

Refugee supporters are concerned that there is about to be a wave of forcible deportations. An Iranian man was deported days after the federal election last October.

"The government is using the publicity concerning aid for tsunami victims in the hope that the unsavoury aspects of its refugee policy will escape scrutiny. Its lack of compassion for refugees stands in stark contrast to its professed concern for tsunami victims," said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney.

For more information:

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

Ian Rintoul
Refugee Action Coalition
[phone number posted]

Mark Goudkamp
Refugee Action Coalition
[phone number posted]

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