For the last several months, the Labor government has been quietly transferring the remaining refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru to Australia; from 72 in December, there are just 13 refugees left on Nauru. More are expected to be transferred on Saturday (10 June).
Although Labor is spending $420 million with the notorious US detention company MTC, for garrison services until September 2025, it is expected that all refugees and asylum seekers will be off Nauru by the end of June.
Refugees recently brought to Australia are being released from hotel detention within a week or two. But Hamid, an Iranian refugee brought from Nauru to Australia four months ago, in February 2023, is still being held in detention. Hamid was held first in the Meriton Hotel, Brisbane, then, on 7 June he was transferred to BITA, the Brisbane detention centre.
Like others brought from Nauru, he was promised that he would be released from detention in Australia, and was even asked whether he wanted to be released on a bridging visa or on a community detention order.
Until 7 June, Hamid had been held in an individual room, in the Meriton Hotel, 24 hours a day. All meals were eaten in his room, and was sometimes taken to the Brisbane detention centre (BITA) for just one hour’s exercise a day.
There are around seven other refugees in the Meriton, who expect to be released in the next week or so.
On 7 June, Hamid was moved to BITA. Despite many representations to Labor Ministers, Andrew Giles and Clare O’Neil, no explanation has been given for Hamid’s prolonged detention.
It’s time to end the torture. Hamid had been on Nauru for almost nine years before he was brought to Australia. Since 2019, he has been cruelly separated from his two adult children when Peter Dutton refused to transfer Hamid to Australia with his children, under the Medevac laws.
The prolonged separation has devastated Hamid. His son was released from hotel detention in Victoria in 2022. His daughter is now in the US after being accepted in 2020.
“Labor has no more excuses. It’s way beyond time that Hamid was freed from detention and reunited with his son,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
A “Free Hamid” rally has been called at the BITA detention Centre (100 Sugarmill Road, Pinkenba), 4pm, Sunday 11 June. Hamid’s son, Arman, will speak at the rally.
For more information contact: Mark Gillespie 0439 561 196, Lisa Bridle 0411 723 071, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713