In Australia, immigrants can now remain behind bars even after a prison sentence | Abroad

In Australia, the government has introduced new laws allowing immigrants without visas to be preventively detained if they pose a danger to society. If immigrants have previously been convicted of a serious violent or sexual offense, which carries a prison sentence of more than seven years and the risk of recurrence is high, the government may decide to preventively re-arrest them in detention centers.

The laws came after Australia’s Supreme Court ruled last month that an unnamed and stateless Rohingya man held in immigration detention after serving his sentence for child abuse was unlawfully detained because no country had agreed to take him in, and that way he had no chance of being deported.

This ruling led to the release of 148 different offenders, including refugees and stateless persons, who, like the Rohingya man, had little chance of being deported and were thus imprisoned indefinitely. Since then, the government has been trying to get these offenders back in jail as quickly as possible. “If I had the legal power to re-detain all these people I would do it immediately,” said Home Secretary Clare O’Neil.

Strict requirements

The immigrants who have been released thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling must adhere to strict measures drawn up by the government. For example, they must adhere to a curfew and also wear an electronic ankle bracelet. €153 million was allocated to monitoring these requirements. Four immigrants were arrested again by the police after their release because they did not comply with these rules.

With the new laws, immigrants can be kept behind bars again after their sentences. The decision about the possible danger must be reconsidered every year. Similar laws exist in Australia for convicted terrorists. They can also be detained after their sentence if they pose a danger to society.

Unlike the opposition in Australia, who believe these measures do not go far enough, human rights groups are concerned about the new laws. “These immigrants have served their sentences. But the government and the opposition want us to believe that society will only be safe if they are locked up for the rest of their lives,” said Human Rights Law Center director Sanmati Verma. The Australian Commissioner for Human Rights is also concerned.