MEDIA RELEASE 24/02 | RELEASE SAYED: FALSE RED NOTICE LIFTED FROM EGYPTIAN ASYLUM SEEKER

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

RELEASE SAYED: FALSE RED NOTICE LIFTED FROM EGYPTIAN ASYLUM SEEKER

The fabricated Interpol Red Notice issued by the Egyptian government against asylum seeker Sayed Abdellatif has been unconditionally lifted (see attachment). The red notice has been the excuse used by successive Australian governments to hold Sayed and his family in detention for almost six years.

Since 2013, when they were transferred to Villawood detention centre, Sayed has been separated from his family in a different area of the detention facility.

The withdrawal of the red notice is a victory for Sayed who has always insisted that the red notice was bogus. It is also a slap in the face for the succession of Immigration Ministers who have used Sayed as a political punching bag.

Tony Abbott, when opposition leader in 2013, notoriously tried to make political mileage out of Sayed’s case by referring to Sayed as a “convicted jihadist Egyptian asylum seeker.” George Brandis referred to him as a “murderer”.

Sayed, his wife and six children have been held in detention on the basis of a red notice that has been internationally condemned and that the Australian government knew to be spurious. A Canadian Federal Court judge presiding over a similar case had warned that red notices could not be taken at face value.

Substantial charges were quickly dropped from the red notice once they were challenged in 2013. But the Australian government refused to follow this up. Worse, information was withheld from Sayed while the government conspired to try to extradite Sayed to a corrupt dictatorship.

Successive Immigration ministers ignored the evidence, including recommendations from ASIO and the AFP and a report from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

“The lifting of the fabricated Egyptian red notice is the first small glimpse of justice that Sayed and his family have seen since they arrived seeking protection in Australia in 2012,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“He is owed an apology for the public vilification he has suffered and compensation for the years that he and his family have been deliberately and wrongly kept in detention. The Minister must immediately release Sayed and his family and provide them with the permanent protection visas that they should have received in 2012.

“There needs to be a full inquiry into this injustice. It is one of the most shocking examples that we have seen, of the abuse of ministerial power that has kept an innocent man and his family in detention for almost six years.”

For morer information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713