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Refugee activists in Melbourne and then Sydney have been blockading entrances to detention centres to stop the deportation of “Saeed” (not his real name), a 60-year-old Iraqi man. So far, the deportation has been delayed by several days.
Saeed is from a persecuted religious minority in Iraq. He came to Australia in 2012 via boat and has spent the past four years in detention. His brother, who came on the same boat and has an almost identical application, has been granted asylum.
Saeed’s initial application for asylum in Australia was rejected and he was not told he could appeal. He does not speak English and when he attempted to submit an appeal years later, he was told it was too late.
Called on social media by Close the Camps Action Collective and Refugee Action Collective Victoria, refugee activists stood in the driving rain and blockaded the three entrances leading into Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) for 22 hours on March 21.