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Darwin Refugee Family Fights For Freedom

Refugee Action Coalition MEDIA RELEASE 13/08/2021 Support is growing for the last remaining refugee family in Darwin's Mercure Hotel prison to be released from detention.

The Maghames family (parents, Malakeh and Yaghob, and their adult children Hajar and Abbas) have been sleeping in the yard of their compound at the back of the hotel (see photos) in protest at being left behind, after the only other family in Darwin detention was shifted to the Melbourne detention centre (MITA) a week ago.

The government transferred the Maghames family from Nauru to Darwin, in February 2020, a few months after the Medevac legislation was repealed, on the understanding that they would be released into the community. However, while most other refugees transferred after the repeal of the Medevac legislation have been released, the Magahames family remains in detention. "Why is the government keeping us?" one of the children asked the Refugee Action Coalition, "They have kept us since 2013. We need people to understand our situation. My parents need help; they are too sick and distressed." Another group of 14 refugees similarly transferred from Nauru to Villawood in September 2020, are also being kept in detention. (They were recently shifted from Villawood to the Park hotel in Melbourne, where they are still in quarantine.) "The Maghames family needs freedom," said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, "The government can't claim that the Medevac legislation forced them to bring this family to Australia; the government brought them for medical and mental health reasons. But after six years on Nauru, Australian detention has made them worse. "The torture needs to end." A protest calling for the family's freedom is being held on Saturday 14 August, 5pm, at the fence of the Mercure Airport hotel (behind the Darwin airport on Sir Norman Brearley Drive.)

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713


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