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The curious case of a Pakistani detainee in Australia

Yongah Hill Detention Centre in Western Australia Source: AAP

Nauroze Anees is a Pakistani detained at the Perth Immigration Detention Centre, Australia since 2016.

The government of Pakistan is following up a case of Nauroze Anees who came to Australia as a student but is now living a life of a detainee. 

“Mr Anees has been in detention since October 2016 and is currently detained at the Yongah Hill detention centre in Western Australia,” a High Commission spokesperson said.

Greens Senator Nick McKim has also been following his case.  He told SBS Urdu that Mr Anees has been detained under unfair conditions, and has suffered profound harm as a result.

“Being detained for years without charge is a gross breach of his human rights,” Senator McKim said.

The Pakistani High Commission says it is also aware that Nauroze Anees has claimed he was sexually assaulted by a guard during detention at Yongah Hill. Anees is now seeking legal redress for the alleged assault.

Kimberley Allen, a solicitor from Shine Lawyers, who is representing Mr Anees told SBS Urdu that only one counselling session has been provided to their client and since the alleged assault, he has been admitted to hospital twice suffering from panic attacks.

“Despite asking immediately to see the police he was restricted both from properly reporting the assault and from getting access to the support he needed," Ms Allen claimed.

"There is already a huge reluctance to report sexual abuse in the broader community so it is extremely concerning to hear that a government-run detention centre may have acted in this way.

Ms Allen says the alleged assault happened five months ago yet their client is still being forced to live in the same environment as his perpetrators where, she claims he is being continually stalked, intimidated and harassed.

"Psychologically this is incredibly traumatic to deal with and something that no sexual abuse victim should have to face on a daily basis," she said. 

 “Our client was detained under orders through the Federal Government and placed in this facility where he has since been violated and it appears a blind eye has been turned.”

However, Australian Border Force has said that the allegations were assessed requiring no further action.

"The Australian Border Force referred the allegation to Australian Federal Police on 16 September 2018 and further to the Department of Home Affairs on 3 October 2018. The allegations were assessed and no further action was recommended from either referral.

"The Department maintains a robust administrative framework around our detention facilities and they are subject to rigorous external oversight." an ABF spokesperson told SBS Urdu.

Who is Nauroze Anees?

Nauroze Anees is originally from the city of Sialkot in Pakistan. Born to a Punjabi father and a Kashmiri mother, he came to Australia in 2007 and studied commerce at Deakin University. He received his diploma and then pursued a bachelor's degree where he met his partner.

“After I met my partner, I realised soon after that she has very complex health needs," he told SBS Urdu.

"On top of being a partner, I had to take on the role of a carer. I was warned by a Deakin University counsellor that I need to cut this relationship off because it will not help my studies. But I told him that I loved her. How will I feel if somebody I love abandons me because of some disability I have. I am not going to abandon her. I have to be there for her no matter what.”

As a result of taking on the role of carer, his studies suffered and he stopped studying with the result that his student visa was cancelled.

Conviction

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal heard that over a period of about three years, "there began a series of offences which escalated in seriousness.”

In 2011, Nauroze Anees was sentenced to three months in prison. He claims that he was charged with ‘recklessly causing injury’ for an action taken while defending his partner at a cafe in Melbourne.

“I was sitting with my partner celebrating our anniversary when eight people assaulted my partner. I had to jump and defend her,” he said.

Later on, he applied for a partner visa which was refused and after he was released from prison he was placed in immigration detention.

Allegations of visa bribes

Earlier this year, he came into the media limelight about allegations he made relating to a detainee allegedly getting a visa through bribes.

In a blog, he claimed how a detainee got out of the detention centre by paying bribe money.

Senate estimates hearing

Greens Seantor, Nick McKim
Greens Seantor, Nick McKim
AAP

During a Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs’ hearing on 18th February 2019, Greens Senator Nick McKim inquired about an article published by Fairfax, ‘Hundreds of foreign criminals are being handed back their cancelled visas'?.

He asked if the Department of Home Affairs is looking after the allegation that, “for a payment of $80,000, you can get out of detention and into circulation?’”

Mr Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the department replied, ‘yes’.

Full transcript of the hearing can be read here.

Australia Border Force
ABF

In a media release, the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force (ABF) rejected the claims of Mr Nauroze Anees’ removal from Australia of being expedited due to any interaction with the media.

“He was one of several detainees visited by the ABF at Perth Immigration Detention Centre on 18 February, to discuss their removal from Australia.

“This individual’s case has been comprehensively assessed by the Department, twice by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Federal Court. Planning for his removal from Australia is in line with normal practices.

“The ABF has a legislative obligation to remove people from Australia once immigration matters have been finalised.”

The ABF said that those people, whose immigration matters are finalised, are expected to leave Australia.

“While there is nothing to verify the authenticity of the audio recording released in the media, there is nothing in it that indicates improper practice by the officers or the Department,“ the ABF said.

“The ABF has a legislative obligation to remove people from Australia once immigration matters have been finalised.”

The allegations have been referred to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Senator Nick McKim has welcomed the referral.

“While we welcome the referral of this case to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, these allegations highlight the need for a national anti-corruption watchdog.”

“It is crucial that the allegations of corruption are properly investigated.”

Detention continues

The Pakistani High Commission calls the detention ‘over-stretched’ and ‘uncomfortably prolonged’ which has been causing the detainee and his partner a lot of discomfort, mental stress and hardship.

“It is pertinent to mention here that, his partner, an Australian citizen is suffering from severe mental challenges and Mr Anees is her only support and caregiver.”

Senator McKim told SBS Urdu that his office is in regular contact with Nauroze and that he has made a number of representations on his behalf.

Mr Anees says he has not met his partner since his detention and calls it 'mental torture'.

"She has been left homeless vulnerable. I was her only support."

"She still is hospitalised in Melbourne."

“Every single day I don’t want to live anymore because what is life without purpose if you are not with the one you love.”

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