All 93 of the non-Australians who had been recognized by Australia’s department of home affairs as being affected by a recent judgment handed down by the country’s highest court that concluded they were being unlawfully detained have now been set free.
Andrew Giles, the minister of immigration, announced on Saturday that the 93 individuals had been released, adding that all of them would be required to comply with stringent visa conditions, including the wearing of electronic monitoring devices.
According to him, a “significant number” of them had been found guilty of committing major crimes in the past.
The high court issued a ground-breaking decision on November 8 finding that the Rohingya man known as NZYQ had been unlawfully detained for an indeterminate period of time.
This verdict, which reversed a precedent that had been in place for the previous 20 years, had a domino effect on 92 more individuals who were being held in indefinite detention, the majority of whom were being held on character grounds despite having committed terrible offenses such as murder or sexual assault. The judge’s decision mandated that they be returned to the general population.
“Our agencies will be implementing requirements on individuals to report details of people they live with, travel plans, associations with clubs or other organizations, financial information, and any contact they have with individuals or groups involved or alleged to be involved in criminal activity,” Giles said on Saturday. “From today, we will be implementing requirements on individuals to report details of people they live with, travel plans, associations with clubs or other organizations, and any financial information.”
“[Measures include] the use of electronic monitoring devices on individuals in order to maintain the safety of the community; a curfew on persons for the goal of, once again, maintaining the safety of the community. Individuals were convicted of such offenses involving children are prohibited from working with children or other vulnerable persons and from being within 200 meters of a school, childcare center, or daycare center. This is in addition to the prohibition on being in the area.
Other limits included “a ban for those who had previously been convicted of an offense including violence or sexual assault from contacting their victims, or indeed their victims’ families.” This was one of the more severe restrictions.
It is now a criminal offense to fail to report, to keep a curfew, or to comply with the restrictions of electronic monitoring. Giles stated that the maximum penalty for these violations is five years in jail with a required minimum term of one year.
By the following Monday after the ruling from the supreme court, eighty individuals had been freed. After that, on Thursday, the government hurriedly pushed through legislation that would allow for electronic monitoring, curfews, and mandatory minimum prison sentences for violations.
A “dashboard” that was presented on Thursday night in response to a request from the shadow minister of home affairs, James Paterson, confirmed the data about the formerly detained individuals that were reported in the media one week ago. It reveals that 21 of them were recommended to the minister of the home affairs for concerns over “national security, cybercrime, serious and high profile organized/gang-related, high-ranking outlaw motorcycle gangs.”
Another 27 individuals were reported to the immigration minister for having committed “very serious violent offenses, very serious crimes against children, very serious family/domestic violence, or violent, sexual, or exploitative offenses against women.”
There were 29 people on the list who were accused of “violent, sexual, or exploitative offenses.”
The 93 individuals were being held in detention due to the fact that they were unable to be returned to their respective nations. Five of the people were without a country to call home, and the remaining nine were considered “intractable,” which means that they could not be removed “due to factors beyond the detainee’s and the Commonwealth’s control.”
Afghanistan, Iran, and Sudan were the top three nations from which the detainees were originally from. 40 of them called New South Wales home, 24 called Victoria home, 11 called Queensland home, 9 called Western Australia home, 6 called South Australia home, and 2 called the Australian Capital Territory home.
Peter Dutton, the leader of the opposition, made the statement on Thursday in the House of Representatives that the government had “fallen on the side of the rights of the individuals who have committed these crimes.”
“They’ve forgotten about the individuals who are victims,” he said. “They’ve forgotten about us.” Dutton suggested that the Labor party had made the decision “not to re-detain these serious criminals,” despite the fact that the high court had ruled that such a move would be illegal.
Along with expressing concern for the victims, Giles stated that the “No. 1 concern” for him and the government was the protection of the people.
The Australian Law Council has issued a plea for an immediate review of the measure, characterizing it as hastily drafted and excessively harsh. Luke Murphy, the president of the council, stated that it was “only legitimate as an extraordinary and appropriately tailored scheme” to place restrictions on individuals “based on a prediction they may commit a future offense.”
He stated that “we have strong concerns about the rushed passage of an act that imposes harsh offence provisions subject to mandatory sentences and draconian limitations on liberty that are disproportionate to the risks it seeks to address.” “We have strong concerns about the rushed passage of an act that imposes harsh offence provisions subject to mandatory sentences and draconian limitations on liberty,” he said.
A further examination of these cases will likely require the entire reasons for the decision made by the high court, which may not be supplied until 2024 at the earliest. Nevertheless, the solicitor general has stated that an additional 340 detainees may need to be released.