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Repression and Violence in Australia

April 27, 2013

This is a slight variant on my usual theme, but it’s an issue I was worried about last year and my time in Palestine has given me a new perspective on it.

It feels kind of dirty to label Ranjini an issue. Ranjini is a refugee, who arrived in Australia with her two sons on a boat from Indonesia. On May the 10th, 2012, Ranjini was in Melbourne and called into a meeting with Immigration officials. She thought this was strange. Ranjini had already received refugee status. She had even met another man and married. She was successfully rebuilding her life and creating a life for her children. So the shock must have been overwhelming when, at this meeting on May 10th, she was told that she had been determined a ‘security risk’ and would be returning to detention at Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre.

One of the kickers (in the face) of this case, was that ASIO, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, would not even tell her why she was a security threat. In a later court case, ASIO claimed it would be a threat to it’s contacts if it revealed the information it had on Ranjini. Ranjini herself admits that her first husband, who died in the brutal Sri Lankan Civil War, was a driver for one of the General’s. In an appeal against her detention, a judge asked if ASIO could reveal Ranjini’s file in closed court. Ranjini and her counsel would not be able to see the file, but the judge would be able to review the case and the file. ASIO’s response: ‘We don’t have to- so we won’t.’

The day Ranjini was detained, she found out she was pregnant, Her baby Paari, was born four months ago. All appeals processes are exhausted, no media is talking about this issue anymore. Ranjini is in detention, for life, with no hope of ever getting out. Her three children will remain with her until they are 18, the Department of Immigration assures us ‘the children are not being held in administrative detention,’ no. They just live in a jail with their Mum for their whole childhood.

ASIO needs to do the right thing here and release the file of Ranjini. At least giver her a chance to explain or refute the accusations leveled against her by ASIO and their spies in Sri Lanka. It’s notable that Niromi de Soyza (pen name) admits to being a soldier in the Tamil Tigers for nearly a year. She arrived in Australia by plane, was granted refugee status and remains an Activist for Tamil rights. This was a soldier who fought brutally for an organisation now deemed by the Australian Government as a Terrorist Organisation, roaming freely.

Ranjini, raising three kids in jail, and no-one will tell her why. For Ranjini Day, May 10th, petition your local member and the media to immediately end this repression of a person and a family. Release the ASIO file, tell Ranjini why she is spending her life in jail WITHOUT ANY DUE PROCESS.

Speak Truth or die trying.


From → Uncategorized

  1. Helen Bayes permalink

    A horrifying situation for Ranjini, her children, and her Australian husband. It’s in the same basket as the detention of many Palestinians who are detained indefinitely ‘for security reasons’ without due process, and with huge impacts on their families and especially their children. How shameful for the Governments of Australia and Israel to permit this treatment, in the face of their legal systems and human rights obligations!

  2. Clair permalink

    I thought of doing the same thing, Malcolm, but you did it first. Basically they are saying that no security assessment document exists at ASIO, so it makes one wonder if this action was based on hearsay, or if there might be a way to bring this travesty of injustice to a more public point of accountability?

  3. Malcolm permalink

    Hi Clair, they got me on a technicality, so I resubmitted the request here: with a broader submission. Looking forward to hearing back (again)!

  4. Malcolm, did you ever hear anything back yet on this case? What is the current status?

  5. Malcolm, did you ever hear anything back? I wonder what is the current status of this case? -Clair

  6. Malcolm permalink

    Yes they got back to me, but just to explain they were dismissing it again because ASIO are exempt from the FOI act. In fact, whenever any government department deals with ASIO that communication is exempt from the act.

    I actually had a good conversation with the person handling my appeal after the AGD denied the request. She said a better way to go in this case was to make a request to the Immigration Dept, but you would need to submit a request that didn’t trigger the exemptions I mentioned. You will see from other requests on the right to know website that getting any information out of the Immigration Dept is tricky!

I would be honored if you espoused your narrative here.....

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