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Peter Qasim still in Baxter.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Democrats Senator for South Australia

Dated: 08 April 2005

Press Release Number: 05/165

Portfolio: Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Peter Qasim Still in Baxter

Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja today renewed her call for Ministerial intervention in the case of Peter Qasim, who has been detained in Australia for more than six and a half years.

Visiting Mr Qasim at Baxter Immigration Detention Facility, Senator Stott Despoja said it was a disgrace that the Minister would not reveal why Mr Qasim was not eligible for the Governments new Removal Pending Bridging Visa.

"I am also concerned by the Ministers accusation that Peter Qasim has been uncooperative," Senator Stott Despoja said.

"As a Kashmiri man, who the Indian Government refuses to recognise, Mr Qasim effectively is 'stateless' and is trapped in bureaucratic limbo.

"Although he has been eligible for deportation since January 1999 and signed documents requesting this deportation in 2003, the Department of Immigration is unable to return him.

"He has approached more than 80 countries to grant him asylum but, so far, none have agreed to accept him.

"Following last years High Court ruling on indefinite detention, Mr Qasim now faces the possibility of being detained in Australia for the rest of his natural life unless the Government intervenes in his case.

"I urge the Government to exercise one of the many forms of Ministerial intervention available, including granting Mr Qasim a refugee visa or at a bare minimum a bridging visa.

"This would at least allow Mr Qasim to live in the community among his many friends and supporters while efforts to deport him continue.

"I am incredibly worried about the effect detention is having on detainees generally - especially long term ones like Peter, for whom it is a soul destroying experience," Senator Stott Despoja said.

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