Sixth ex-immigration detainee arrested after High Court ruling

Sixth ex-immigration detainee arrested after High Court ruling

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An ex-immigration detainee has been arrested in Melbourne under emergency legislation enacted following last month’s High Court decision, making him the sixth former prisoner to allegedly break the law since a political furore erupted over the court ruling and the federal government’s response.

The Australian Federal Police said a 36-year-old Eritrean-born man was arrested late Friday in Melbourne’s west for allegedly breaching his visa. Police said he failed to comply with a curfew.

The man was charged under amendments to the Migration Act that Labor and the Coalition teamed up to pass last month. They require former detainees to wear ankle bracelets and abide by strict curfews, regardless of whether they had criminal convictions.

Further amendments were passed in a fiery late-night session of parliament on Wednesday. The curfew breach carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment and a $93,900 fine. The man will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today.

The fallout from the High Court decision that freed almost 150 people from immigration detention – including some who already served sentences for violent offending – has caused headaches for the Albanese government for the past month before escalating again at the start of the week when news first broke an ex-detainee was re-arrested.

Late Sunday, Afghan refugee and convicted sex offender Aliyawar Yawari fronted court in South Australia after allegedly indecently assaulting a woman on Saturday night at an Adelaide hotel. A second ex-detainee, 45-year-old Mohammed Ali Nadari, was accused of drug possession when police allegedly found him with cannabis in western Sydney last Saturday afternoon.

A third, Abdelmoez Mohamed Elawad, 45, appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday on charges of stealing luggage from an airport traveller. A fourth, Emran Dad, 33, was arrested in Dandenong for allegedly breaching his reporting obligations as a sex offender.

The fifth detainee was arrested in Queensland on Thursday on an outstanding warrant seeking to return him to prison in NSW for breaching parole conditions over an earlier conviction for assault.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told parliament this week he was sorry any time someone was the victim of a crime.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

The government defended its handling of the cases by pointing to the stronger laws passed by parliament on Wednesday to allow the preventative detention of former detainees who could pose a threat to the community, as well as the use of community supervision orders and monitoring devices such as ankle bracelets.

In documentation accompanying the release of the amendment, the government acknowledged its legislation could breach human rights relating to discrimination, given Australian citizens who have been convicted of similar offences are not subject to similar restrictions.

More to come.

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