3 Nov 2006

Decision due on legal challenge to ASIO assessment of Nauru detainee

2:31 pm on 3 November 2006

A decision on whether the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation should disclose the reasons for its negative security assessment of the Iraqi refugee on Nauru is due today.

Mohammed Sagar is the last of the asylum seekers picked up by the Australia-bound freighter Tampa in 2001 to still be detained on Nauru.

His lawyer, Julian Burnside QC, has launched a legal challenge to the ASIO assessment which remains in place despite the fact that Mr Sagar, like the majority of the Tampa boat people, has been declared a legitimate refugee.

The ASIO director general Paul O'Sullivan has said that Mr Sagar is not interested in settling in Australia.

However, Mr Burnside says it's more to do with the calculated cruelty of Canberra in keeping him on Nauru for so long...

"After being mistreated by Australia for five years, I think Sagar would probably prefer to be in some other country. But he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life as a prisoner on Nauru. I think he'd rather be in Australia free than in Nauru, but Australia's probably the second to last place in the world that he wants to be because the Australian government has treated him the way it has."