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Australia passes new detention laws for stateless convicts

Sydney, Australia

Australia has passed new laws allowing former immigration detainees to be locked up again if they pose any risk of committing serious offences after they were released in a landmark ruling by the country’s top court.

Under the new laws passed by the Parliament late on Wednesday, a court can order the detention of the most serious offenders where they pose the risk of committing serious violent or sexual offences. 

Australia's Federal Parliament in Canberra, on 8th May, 2012

Australia’s Federal Parliament in Canberra, on 8th May, 2012. PICTURE: Reuters/Andrew Taylor/File photo

“This legislation establishes a robust preventative detention and community safety order regime that is modelled on the existing high-risk terrorist offender scheme,” Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said in a statement. 

The High Court of Australia ruled last month that an unnamed and stateless Rohingya man held in immigration detention after serving time for child sexual offences was being unlawfully detained as no country had agreed to resettle him so there was no real prospect he could be deported.

The ruling led to the release of several offenders, among them refugees and stateless people, who were similarly unlikely to be deported and faced indefinite detention.

Since the court’s ruling on 8th November, four people who were freed have been charged with fresh offences, media reported.

The Labor government had to rush through the new laws on preventive detention following concerns about releasing violent offenders into the community as the opposition and government lawmakers clashed over the ramifications of the court ruling.

Along with preventative detention, the new law also allows authorities to enforce targeted restrictions like curfews, electronic monitoring devices and strict visa conditions.



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