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Wrongful detention for 1272 days being investigated by Ombudsman.

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Senator Kerry Nettle Senator for New South Wales

Wrongful detention for 1272 days being investigated by Ombudsman

7th Oct 2005

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle was appalled today to learn that the Department of Immigration may have wrongfully detained a person for three and a half years (1272 days).

The Senate Committee Inquiry into the Administration of the Migration Act heard evidence from the Ombudsman about the investigation of the 221 cases of possible wrongful detention.

"I am appalled that someone may have been wrongfully detained for three and a half years," said Senator Nettle.

"Many detainees find that once you fall into the Immigration detention system it is extremely hard to get out and in this case it appears that someone has been lost in the system for three and a half years.

"The Government needs to ensure that the public is given information about this case as soon as possible.

"It was also concerning to hear that 50 people may have been wrongfully detained because of data errors. It is not acceptable for the Department of Immigration to deprive people of their liberty because of the department's mistakes. A policy of mandatory detention allows for people to be wrongfully locked up in this way.

"Eleven of the wrongful detention cases being investigated involve people with a mental illness. This is not acceptable and is certainly not compassionate or humane.

"Abolishing the policy of mandatory detention is the only way to ensure that these tragedies do not continue to occur."

The Ombudsman also mentioned that when interviewed, some of the staff who deported Vivian Solon thought they had done well and had met the Department's key performance indicators in deporting Ms Solon so hastily.

Contact: Jon Edwards 0428 213 146