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Asylum seeker ‘secretly deported’

Wednesday 27 July 2016 | Published in Regional

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AUSTRALIA – A Sudanese man who fled war and persecution and was injured in riots in Manus Island in PNG has been secretly deported from Melbourne to Christmas Island.

Daniel Webb, from the Human Rights Law Centre in Australia, says the deportation happened on Tuesday morning under cover of darkness, with no notice given to the man’s lawyer.

He says the man, who cannot be named but is using the pseudonym of ‘Waleed’, spent three years being moved from centre to centre, and was injured in the riots at Manus Island that also caused the death of the Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati.

Webb says Waleed and all asylum seekers in Australia now live in fear.

“We’ve got to realise in this country that it’s just not okay to lock up innocent people indefinitely in tiny islands and bounce them around the Pacific like they’re sort of pawns on a chessboard. We need to assess their refugee claims and if they’re found to be refugees allow them to begin rebuilding their lives.”

Protesters at the Melbourne airport failed to stop an asylum seeker from being transferred in the early hours of the morning.

About a dozen activists tried to block a van believed to be transporting the man from entering the airport.

The asylum seeker was taken into the airport after police moved on protesters blocking the van, activists said.

Protester Sally Hunter said she was prepared to be arrested.

“We’ve done a lot of things over a long period of time and we feel there is no other option than to participate in civil disobedience.”

An Australian Federal Police spokesperson said no charges had been laid.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said detainees were routinely transferred throughout the detention centre network “for a range of reasons”.

“Reports that an asylum seeker has been returned to Manus Island this morning after receiving medical treatment in Australia are incorrect,” a spokesperson said.

“The Department does not comment on operational matters in the detention network.”

- PNC sources