Five authors, refugees from Iran, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, were detained on arrival by boat in Australian territorial waters. They were assessed by Australian authorities as refugees, but also deemed a security threat. The basis of their security assessment was kept secret, meaning the authors were unable to challenge the merits of the assessment nor the justification of their detention.
The Committee accepted that their detention was arbitrary (art 9(1)), lacking periodic re-evaluation and judicial review (art 9(4)) and that the arbitrary and indefinite nature of their detention, as well as the conditions of their detention, inflicted “serious, irreversible psychological harm” (art 7). It recommended rehabilitation and compensation for the authors and non-repetition measures.
Read more on FJ et al v Australia.
A poor Indonesian fisherman was recruited to work as a cook on a boatload of people seeking asylum in Australia. Intercepted at sea, the author was detained by Australia for almost 5 months before being charged with people smuggling. He spent a further 16 months on remand before being sentenced to 5 years’ gaol with a 3-year non-parole period, a mandatory sentence required by Australian law.
The UN Human Rights Committee found that his first 5 months of detention without charge or trial was unjustified and arbitrary, in violation of ICCPR article 9(1). His right to be brought promptly before a judge (art. 9(3)) and his right to challenge without delay the lawfulness of his detention in court (art. 9(4)) were also violated.
Read more on Nasir v Australia.