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Qasim gets life sentence but committed no crime

Qasim gets life sentence
but committed no crime

September 9 will mark the beginning of the 7th year in detention for Kashmir-born Peter Qasim.

Peter is one of 13 ‘stateless’ asylum seekers currently facing indefinite detention in the Baxter detention centre in South Australia, and The Greens are calling for their immediate release.

On August 6th, the High Court of Australia decided to uphold the Migration Act, allowing indefinite detention of asylum seekers.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said her discretionary power to grant visas was a safety valve. But on August 31st, she told the 13 stateless asylum seekers that she’d reviewed their cases and would not be giving them visas.

Not only has Australia refused their requests for asylum, but up to 80 other countries have refused to give them a home.

“What is my crime?” asks Peter Qasim. “I asked for asylum after my father was killed and I was tortured by the security forces in Kashmir.

“It was a mistake to ask people who didn't want me, but I have already been punished for my ignorance longer than some murderers, and my sentence has no end.

“Please give me freedom, send me anywhere. You can't ask a human being to live the rest of his life locked up.

“Living without the freedoms that ordinary people take for granted is very difficult. The conditions of detention involve small humiliations every day, and at times we are subject to great injustice, but the worst thing is having no certainty about when my imprisonment will end.”

Refugee supporters and human rights groups have declared September 9 a National Day of Shame and will hold rallies across Australia.

More information: Lynda Smith, Greens NSW refugees spokesperson
02 6688 8198 or 0402 626 416

© Scoop Media

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