Federal Court judge rules hotel detention inhumane but legal

July 13, 2023
Photo: Chris Slee

In a case brought by Iranian Kurdish refugee Mostafa Azimitabar (“Moz”), Federal Court judge Bernard Murphy ruled that while hotel detention is inhumane, it is still legal. 

Moz argued that his detention had been illegal. He had been kept on Manus Island for more than six years, where he suffered medical and psychological problems, including post traumatic stress disorder.

He was brought to Australia under the short-lived Medevac law. But, instead of being given treatment, he was detained for 15 months in hotels that had been converted into alternative places of detention.

Confinement in a hotel-prison, without access to fresh air, worsened Moz’s and other refugees’  health problems. 

Moz’s legal team argued that using hotels as alternative places of detention was illegal. The judge rejected this and criticised the way Moz had been treated, saying  it showed a “lack of care and humanity”.

Moz said that the law needs to be changed and that he would continue his fight with the support of refugee rights activists.

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