Security-cleared refugee on hunger strike for freedom

An Egyptian refugee, Sayed Abdellatif, long denied a permanent visa on dubious security grounds has finally been granted a security clearance by ASIO almost a month ago. 

The security clearance removed any obstacle to Sayed being freed, but, almost one month since being cleared, the Labor government is still holding Sayed in detention. No explanation for his continued detention has been given.

After his numerous requests to be freed were ignored, Sayed began a hunger strike on 17 July. Sayed has been in detention more than eleven years since arriving by boat with his family in 2012.

“It is absurd that Sayed has to resort to hunger striking for his freedom,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “The only reason he was not granted a visa was because of the adverse ASIO security assessment. That reason is gone; the Minister has the power to grant the visa and free Sayed.

“Justice delayed is justice denied is an apt saying, and justice for Sayed is certainly being denied.”

Sayed is also a victim of dubious security procedures. His initial adverse security assessment was based on discredited information extracted under torture during a trial in Egypt in 1999. Only four months ago, ASIO was insisting that it held classified information regarding Sayed, but never allowed Sayed to refute that information. 

“The government has been sitting on Sayed’s security clearance since 6 July. It needs to act immediately to release Sayed,” said Rintoul.

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.

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