“Worst of all is that institutionalised sadism has proved to be electorally popular and oppositions are hesitant to attack it, so there is community acquiescence” – Barry Jones, former Minister in Hawke Government.
“Habeas Corpus” is Latin that means literally: “You shall have the body”
The Australian government has denied a refugee access to a doctor so he seeks release from arbitrary detention in Australia.
A medivac refugee, Amin Afravi, has been trying to obtain release from detention at BITA in Brisbane so that he can obtain urgent medical care. Amin has been refused access to a specialist by the Australian government contractor, IHMS. He has been arbitrarily detained by Australian authorities since 24th July 2013, nearly 8 years. During that time he has had his throat cut by G4S guards on Manus under contract by the Australian government. Amin has been tortured, assaulted and extracted from Kangaroo Point Central Apartments in Brisbane and now is suffering from a debilitating skin disease in BITA.
In her speech the House of Representatives on 17 February 2021, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (DFAT), Senator Marise Payne, deplored the use of arbitrary detention of refugees. The Minister said on behalf of her government: “Upholding our commitment to international human rights is one of the most important measures of the success of our societies.”
Detainee Amin Afravi’s wounds from his throat being cut by G4S guards under contract by the Australian government
Amin has been trying to have doctors employed by NGOs to visit him. These doctors have been blocked by the Australian government’s Border Force and Australian government contractor IHMS to deny Amin proper treatment for his illness.
The minister is aware that the arbitrary detention of Amin Afravi is unlawful, but courts have been slow to act to impose habeas corpus on the Australian government. The judiciary have repeatedly failed to recognise signed international covenants by refusing to force the executive to release the detainees or to send them back to Nauru and PNG.
On 26 April 2016, the PNG Supreme Court ruled the arbitrary detention of refugees at the camp on Manus Island breached section 42 of the PNG constitution, which guarantees personal liberty.
Amin Afravi has challenged his arbitrary detention by the Australian government in the Federal Court. The court has adjourned the matter. His case should be brought on immediately, it is a breach of habeas corpus to do otherwise. It is legal under both Australian and International law for Amin to seek refuge in Australia.
A writ of habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the detention is lawful. In Australia today as in many countries still, a person may be imprisoned on the orders of the immigration minister and kept in arbitrary detention for years without ever getting a chance to defend himself, or even knowing what he’s done wrong. This was has happened to Amin and his fellow Medivac refugees.
Minister misleads Australian parliament claiming government opposes arbitrary detention of refugees
Meanwhile the Australian government has done nothing to prevent the UK and US torture and arbitrary detention of its citizen, Julian Assange.
Amin Afravi centre detained arbitrarily during 2020 by Australian government at KP Apartments in Brisbane
During numerous phone calls with Amin Afravi I have heard him say ‘I’m slowly dying in here’. I rang him yesterday on 17 February to tell him that I could not find a single doctor who would visit and examine him at BITA.
I have asked for help from NGOs, doctors, politicians, social workers, community workers, lawyers – virtually every profession – but we have all failed Amin, to our collective shame and guilt. If something bad happens to Amin, it will be on all our heads.
For example, I emailed ‘Refugee Health’ at the Mater Hospital to provide medical assistance to Amin. They give ‘outside our scope’ as their reason for refusing him an examination by a doctor. Something that should be a right of everyone in Australia. My local doctor can’t treat Amin because he does not have a Medicare card. The home doctor service said they can’t help him because they do not service Pinkenba where he is currently arbitrarily detained. It seems that the Australian government has though of everything.
I have engaged a lawyer (Terry Fisher of Fisher Dore lawyers) to write a letter to a GP to undertake an immediate consultation with Amin. But not a single doctor has stood up. They can’t because, they say, • they will be denied access, • it is not their area of speciality, or, • that it will create unreasonable expectations in Amin’s mind. Amin tells me he has very low expectations of Australia and wishes to return to PNG. But the Australian government refuses to send him back.
If you have a specific GP who will step up, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do not refer me to another NGO or someone who ‘may’ be able to help.
PS Since writing this post a local medical centre, World Wellness Clinic at 33 Stoneham Street, Stones Corner , has promised to provide a doctor to talk to Amin over a video call.
18 Feb 2021