PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 12/10/98
20 November 1998
Further information on EXTRA 86/98 (12/09/98, 18 November 1998) -
Fear of imminent forcible deportation
AUSTRALIA Sadiq Shek Elmi, aged 38
Sadiq Shek Elmi won a last-minute reprieve from being returned to Somalia,
where he is at risk of torture or extrajudicial execution, after a dramatic
intervention by the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) in Geneva.
His fate remains unclear, however, pending a decision by the Minister for
Immigration, Mr Philip Ruddock, in response to the UN intervention.
The case has won widespread media coverage in the country:
“The decision on a delay of at least 48 hours, and maybe indefinitely,
came as the man was being flown under guard from Melbourne to Perth,
where he was to fly to Johannesburg yesterday afternoon”.
“The UNCAT action was part of a worldwide protest that was galvanised
yesterday as Amnesty International’s London headquarters put out
an ”urgent action” bulletin on the case, its first against Australia
in nine years”.
“It led to demonstrations at Perth airport by local Amnesty members,
the Uniting Church and Transport Workers Union refuellers, who
threatened to prevent the plane leaving”.
The Australian Government continues to advise its citizens to avoid
travelling to Somalia, saying that “all of Somalia is dangerous”
(The Age Newspaper, Friday 20 November 1998).
The government has pledged to give 48 hours notice of any further deportation
of Sadiq Shek Elmi.
On 19 November, the Australian Government Solicitor advised Amnesty
International Australia of a Federal Court order issued that afternoon
prohibiting publication of Sadiq Shek Elmi’s name in Australia.
Sadiq Shek Elmi has now been flown to Port Hedland’s immigration detention
centre in Western Australia, some 4,000 kilometres from his Melbourne-based
lawyer. He told Amnesty International in an interview that he wishes to thank
everyone who appealed on his behalf, saying he felt as if death had been
approaching and his life had been saved.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please continue to send telegrams/faxes/express
/airmail letters in English or in your own language:
- thanking the decision by the government of Australia to temporarily allow
Sadiq Shek Elmi to remain in Australia;
- calling on the government to prevent his deportation to Somalia,
where he may face serious human rights violations, for example by granting
him protection on humanitarian grounds;
- calling on the government to enable Sadiq Shek Elmi’s lawyer to fully represent
him during any further case hearings;