National Security

Second immigration detainee from NZYQ cohort arrested in three days over alleged breach of curfew obligations

April 22, 2024

Monday 22 April 2024
Heloise Vyas
Sky News

Another one of the immigration detainees released by order of the High Court’s controversial NZYQ decision in November has been arrested over an alleged breach of visa conditions.

About 150 individuals were set free after the court ruling late last year, which found indefinite immigration detention illegal for those who had no real prospect of deportation from Australia in the foreseeable future.  

Close to 20 people from this cohort have since been arrested over varying offences – predominantly visa breaches – across all jurisdictions, with about 10 since the start of the year.

Another man was taken into custody in Sydney on Monday and charged with failing to comply with a mandated curfew listed under his visa requirements.

The Afghan-born man, 37, was arrested by Federal Police and is understood to have appeared before Parramatta Local Court on one count of failing to comply with a curfew condition, contrary to section 76C(1) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth).

“It will be alleged the man breached the conditions of his Commonwealth visa by failing to observe his residential curfew obligations,” the AFP said.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of five year’s imprisonment and a $93,000 penalty.

It comes as the second arrest from the NZYQ detainee cohort in a week, after the arrest of a Sudanese-born man in Melbourne over similar charges on Friday.

The 45-year-old was also alleged to have breached his curfew mandate, along with failing to comply with a requirement to maintain his ankle monitoring device in good working order.

Shadow home affairs minister James Paterson said it was concerning to see the government not implement its preventative detention regime passed last year to capture the higher-risk former detainees given the significant proportion of those who had re-offended.

“Not on a single occasion has that been used,” he told 2GB Radio. "There’s been no good justification, there’s only been excuses.”

“Not one of them is off the streets, all of them have the opportunity to reoffend, and some of them are. We know at least 18 have violated state and territory laws, 12 who have violated their visa conditions.”

Labor’s preventative detention laws were passed in December last year, weeks after the NZYQ judgement was delivered, amidst a war in Parliament on border protection policies and relentless attacks on the government to toughen its handling of what were painted as “hardened criminals”.

Under the legislation, the Immigration Minister has powers to re-detain certain people released from immigration detention who are found – by a court - to be of unacceptable risks to the public through a tendency of committing serious crimes.

Some of the immigration detainees set free had prior convictions of high-level offences including murder, paedophilia, and sex offending, prompting the government to draw up new preventative laws in a rush.

The High Court’s NZYQ ruling overturned a 20-year legal precedent and was welcomed by human rights groups as a huge win for refugee and asylum seekers left stateless.

Another landmark case before the High Court, brought by Iranian detainee ASF17, is currently pending a judgement, which if successful, could see close to 200 further releases from immigration detention.

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