Monday, September 03, 2007

Queer Activist wins landmark case against Refugee Review Tribunal

Hooray for Motahar and all those who supported him directly or indirectly! We acted against the cautions of many do-gooders and right-wing Christians (a tautology, it seems to me, but they swarm into Villawood and tell people to just pray and wait and not rock the system. They must have a way different gospel to the one I read about the radical social justice advocate nailed up for sedition). They didn't want us to go public, but going public got Motahar the support he needed to get over the line. The truth will set you free!----------------------------------------------------------
from caah.org.au COMMUNITY ACTION AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA
 
Monday 3 September 2007

Press release

Queer Activist wins landmark case against Refugee Review Tribunal.

Motahar Hussein, a queer Bangladeshi man locked up in Villawood Detention Centre for two and a half years was finally granted permanent residency on Friday 31 st August. Hussein was rejected twice by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) yet supported by Federal Magistrates Courtand Federal Court decisions. Hussein's third RRT hearing on Friday 31st finally admitted if Motahar went back to Bangladeshhe would 'experience trouble'. This signaled the RRT granting Hussein permanent residency. Keeping Motahar Hussein locked up for two and a half years, fighting against his legal challenges has cost the Howard government an estimated $1 million dollars.  

If sent home Hussein would have suffered persecution. Bangladeshis a predominantly Muslim country with a homophobic law on the penal code - Section 377 which makes 'intercourse against the order of nature' - a crime.

Early within his detention, Motahar Hussein led a successful hunger strike inside Villawood demanding copies of the Migration Act for detainees. He led successful action against Global Solutions Ltd and Delware North Limited who were using detainees for slave labour. When Motahar Hussein was released on a Bridging E Visa in early 2007 he became active in Community Action Against Homophobia's (CAAH) campaign for marriage rights, civil unions and adoption rights. He was elected as CAAH's refugee officer and led a successful campaign against the ban of gay publications SX and SSO within Villawood Detention Centre. Motahar became involved in climate action campaigning as well.

Rachel Evans, CAAH Secretary said "Howard and previous ALP Federal governments have tortured people like Motahar through their policy of mandatory detention. The Refugee Review Tribunal has been refusing many queers and sending many people back to danger. They are an arm of the government's inhumane detention policy.   Motahar's recent victory over the RRT and his victories against slave labor policy within detention show that if we fight we can win. CAAH thanks all those in the community who helped with the campaign to free Motahar Hussein and then to win his permanent visa status. We hope this victory will flow onto the campaign to Free Ali Humayun and end discrimination against all asylum seekers."

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