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Iranian man fails in attempt to be released from Australian immigration detention



The case of an Iranian asylum seeker known only as ASF17 has been closely watched by refugee advocacy groups and the Australian government. ASF17 has been resisting deportation from Australia since 2018, citing concerns for his safety due to his sexual orientation and religious beliefs. However, the High Court recently ruled unanimously that his continued detention is justified because of his refusal to cooperate in his deportation process.

The High Court’s decision comes after a ruling last November in favour of a detained Rohingya man, which found that detention with no reasonable prospect of release or deportation was illegal. This ruling led to the release of dozens of individuals from immigration detention centres. However, the court deemed ASF17’s case to be different, as he has the option to cooperate in obtaining the necessary travel documents from Iranian authorities for his deportation.

ASF17, who is now 37 years old, arrived in Australia over a decade ago on a small boat. He claimed to have fled Iran after his wife discovered him having sex with another man. Despite his claims of being at risk in Iran, the Australian government has assessed him not to be in need of protection. Immigration Minister Andrew Giles welcomed the court’s decision, stating that detention is justified when individuals are not cooperating in their own removal from Australia.

The government’s stance on the case has been clear, with Giles emphasizing that community safety is their highest priority. Under Operation Sovereign Borders, individuals arriving by boat are detained in prison-like facilities, some of which are located offshore with no chance of settlement in Australia. The court’s ruling in ASF17’s case sets a precedent for future challenges to immigration detention, with the government asserting its commitment to taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of Australians.

The decision has been met with mixed reactions from refugee advocacy groups, who had hoped for a different outcome in ASF17’s case. The Australian government’s strong defense of its position in the case signals a broader commitment to upholding immigration policies that prioritize national security and community safety. Despite the ruling, the case has sparked important discussions around the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, highlighting the complexities and challenges of the country’s immigration system.

Moving forward, ASF17 remains in immigration detention as he continues to resist deportation. His case serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by asylum seekers and refugees in navigating Australia’s immigration policies. As debates around immigration detention and deportation continue, it is evident that the issue remains complex and multifaceted, requiring thoughtful consideration and human rights-based approaches to address the needs and concerns of vulnerable individuals seeking refuge in Australia.

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