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Australia to release up to 500 detainees following High Court's landmark refugee ruling


Australia may begin releasing detained refugees within days following a landmark High Court ruling.

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A majority of the High Court on Wednesday found indefinite immigration detention was unlawful, and overturned a 20-year-old precedent.

At least 92 detainees who can’t return to their original country might be freed and another 340 in long-term detention could join them, the court was told.

In a statement on Friday, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said the government was “carefully” considering the implications of the judgment and would continue to work with authorities to ensure community safety.

“Other impacted individuals will be released and any visas granted to those individuals will be subject to appropriate conditions,” he said.

The plaintiff, a Rohingya man from Myanmar known as NZYQ, has already been released.

He faced the prospect of life in detention, as no country would resettle him because he raped a 10-year-old child.

Opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson said he doesn’t have any confidence in the assurances provided by the government.

“They haven’t said what crimes these people have committed … provided no detail or no transparency to the Australian people,” he told reporters in Canberra.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said Australia held immigration detainees for an average of 708 days, and 124 people had been detained for more than five years.

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