Media Release: 18-year-old refugee moved to Adelaide before Federal Court appearance on Monday

Due to Ali Abbas being moved to Adelaide prior to his court case, the prior planned solidarity rally outside the Federal Court in Melbourne has been cancelled.

The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) condemns the Department of Immigration for moving Ali Abbas to Adelaide prior to his court case challenging ASIO’s adverse security check. Abbas is set to face the Federal Court on Monday morning. He remains his detention despite being given refugee status.

We are concerned about how this affects Ali’s court case, possibly isolating the 18-year-old refugee from his lawyers as well as his support network of fellow detainees and refugee advocates on the outside that are visiting. RAC Victoria had planned to hold a solidarity rally outside the Federal Court on Monday morning. But it is now unclear where the case is being held and whether Abbas will be present.

“I have been visiting Ali Abbas for 3 months and before that, for 6 months. Ali has been moved over 6 times. This is outrageous. He had been asking to be transferred to Darwin for ages as there are children there. Why did they move him now or why did they move him to MITA [Broadmeadows] or Adelaide? This is just adding to his mental state. How much more can we torture this child? We demand his freedom now,” said Daniella from the Refugee Action Collective.

Free Ali Abbas! Protest in support of court case against ASIO

Due to Ali Abbas being moved to Adelaide, this event has been cancelled. Please see media release.

Monday, 23rd January from 9.30am
Federal Court of Australia, 305 William Street (corner of La Trobe Street), Melbourne

Facebook event!

Ali Abbas, a Bedouin refugee from Kuwait, will have his plea for freedom heard on Monday morning in front of the Federal court. 18-years-old, he arrived in Australia when he was 16, and despite his refugee status being recognised, he remains in detention because ASIO have deemed him an “adverse security risk” without having to provide the reasons for this assessment.

Abbas, like more than 50 other refugees, remain stuck in detention, not able to be deported back to the countries they fled from because they are refugees and have fled persecution or death, but they cannot be released for reasons ASIO won’t tell us. How a person such as Ali, who arrived here a minor, is a security threat is beyond comprehension to anyone with a compassionate bone in their body.

The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) will be holding a protest outside the Federal Court on the morning of Ali’s court case to show our support. And we urge others to join us, in a bid for the freedom of Ali and all the other refugees stuck because of the punitive policies of ASIO and the Australian government.

Media Release: 3 more refugees join hunger strike

3 more detainees inside Broadmeadows Detention Centre have joined a hunger strike, bringing the number to 5.

“This is the desperation refugees have to go to to be heard. They feel like they are being ignored. Some are still waiting, sometimes over a year, for security checks. They are incredibly frustrated. If they’re accepted as a refugee but ASIO rejects them, they can be locked inside indefinitely.” said Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) spokesperson Benjamin Solah.

Last night, 50 refugee activists held a vigil outside the gates of Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation or ‘Broadmeadows Detention Centre’ in solidarity with two Iranian men who were on hunger strike inside, protesting against the long wait for security checks from ASIO and the general inhumanity of mandatory detention.

One refugee has been lying outside, clutching a fence and refusing food for 5 days. Serco responded by putting a blanket up on the fence to block him from view. Another refugee has been on hunger strike for 9 days.

“I have been visiting this guy for months and when I was there on a visit on Tuesday night they were bringing him back from hospital. He looked like a different man, could barely walk or speak. He went to his room and doesn’t come out,” said Jenell Quinsee, RAC member and regular visitor of the detention centre, of the refugee on his 9th day refusing food.

Activists outside chanted and made noise so the refugees could hear them, lit candles spelling out ‘SOS’, played music and listened to speeches. Speakers included Colleen Hartland, a Greens MLC, and an Iranian activist who spoke about some of the reasons Iranians have fled the country to seek asylum in places like Australia. Later on, he was able to communicate with an Iranian hunger striker via mobile phone and translate his message for the crowd. The detainee expressed his gratitude for the support outside, and said that before, they had been too depressed to play games, but were now playing board games with each other.

The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) demands the release of these refugees into the community. We have grave concerns for their welfare and believe that are not a security threat in the slightest. One refugee with an adverse security claim, Ali Abbas, will appear before the Federal Court on Monday to challenge the ASIO security assessment and the laws that withhold the evidence and findings that mean he will remain in detention indefinitely. Activists will hold a protest outside the court in support from 9.30am.