Australia Indefinite detention is illegal, Supreme Court rules
The High Court of Australia has ruled that the government’s power to detain a person indefinitely in immigration detention is unlawful.
This landmark ruling overturns a 20-year-old precedent that has been central to Australian border politics.
The Human Rights Law Center says this could lead to the release of dozens of people held in immigration detention centers who cannot return to their countries of origin.
The prosecutor warned that this could also lead to compensation claims.
The case, heard by the Australian High Court on Wednesday, involves a stateless Rohingya man who faces possible life detention because no country will resettle him due to his criminal conviction.
The government said his detention was lawful because it intended to deport him from the country – despite its inability to do so.
The result overturns a previous case known as Writer v. Goodwin. In this ruling, the Supreme Court found that indefinite detention is lawful even in circumstances where deportation is not possible.