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Issue #1597      June 12, 2013

Morrison should stop the “terrorism” witch-hunt

A refugee advocate has called for the Opposition Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, to end his “terrorism” witch-hunt, and for the government to investigate the leaking of information by the Australian Federal Police.

“Morrison is a victim of misinformation selectively released by the Australian Federal Police. But Scott Morrison is now guilty of peddling the same misinformation. In the process, he is victimising an innocent man; someone who has been framed by an Egyptian Mubarak-era military court,” said Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The government should announce an immediate investigation into the AFP and the Immigration Department to determine which officers have been responsible for leaking misinformation to the media and to Opposition politicians,” said Rintoul.

“Claims that ‘a convicted murderer’ has been held in low security immigration facilities are simply not true. This asylum seeker has never been convicted of murder or any specific terrorism charges. That much is clear from transcripts of the original trial. The only charge that is still outstanding against him is that he was a member of a jihadist organisation, and that charge is the subject of appeal.

“Amnesty and other human rights organisations condemned the conduct of the trial when it occurred in 1999 and have continued to condemn it. Since the fall of the Mubarak dictatorship, many of those wrongly convicted in the 1999 trial have been acquitted,” said Rintoul.

A 1999 statement from the office of Amnesty International expresses concerns at the conduct of trial. (Other documents, including recent statements from the Egyptian Military Prosecutor are available on request.)

Scott Morrison’s vendetta against ASIO and the Labor government is leading to a “trial by media” of an Egyptian asylum seeker whose claims for protection have still not been considered by the Immigration Department. That is the real crime in this situation – and the Labor government should rectify that immediately. The Immigration Department has not ever considered community release for this asylum seeker. Yet, his claims for protection grow stronger by the day.  

Next article – Rally in Sydney in support of people’s uprising in Turkey

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