Why killers and rapists are being released from immigration detention

Last week the High Court ruled that 92 asylum seekers being held in detention indefinitely was unlawful, leading to their immediate release.

Since then, concerns have been raised about the safety of the community, with many of those who were kept in detention failing character tests, including a Malaysian hitman and a stateless Rohingya man who had previously served time in jail for child sex offences. 

The ruling overturned a 20-year precedent that allowed for asylum seekers who had failed character assessments to be held in detention indefinitely if they could not be deported because they were deemed genuine refugees, were stateless or would not be accepted by their home country.

A Malaysian hitman and a convicted paedophile are among dozens of asylum seekers who’ve been released into the community following a landmark high court ruling. 

On Wednesday’s episode of The Briefing Katrina Blowers speaks with Professor Mary Crock from the University of Sydney about why the High Court made the ruling, and the impact of the release.

“So these individuals will all be released on the al-khattab bridging visa. It’s actually called a return pending visa. And it can operate in perpetuity, but the point is that these people are not citizens. They’re still subject to the law in Australia,” she explained. 

She said the individuals impacted were effectively stuck in Australia as no other country would take them.

 “Just because individuals are non-citizens doesn’t should not put them in a separate category. Everyone should be treated the same way. They’re a threat.  Use the criminal justice system to control how they’re looked after,” she said. 

She said there was a lot of talk about the crimes these people have committed, but it’s not unprecedented.

“There’s a lot of hysteria around around releasing these pretty awful people. There’s no doubt about that. They are people we don’t want to have in the country. But this is not a unique problem in Australia. You find these all over the world. What is unique in Australia is that we have been locking these people up through the term of their natural life.”

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