Accused killer released on visa and free to work
The Daily Telegraph
21st September 2012
24th September 2012
AN accused killer wanted by Interpol for an alleged murder and kidnapping in China has been released from a detention centre into the community on a bridging visa.
Australian authorities have been unable to deport the 39-year-old because doing so could breach human rights obligations as he faces torture and the death penalty if convicted of the 1996 killing.
Instead, the man is free to pursue work without telling prospective employers about the crimes he is accused of.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen denied his release in March was connected to the government's announcement in November that hundreds of asylum seekers would be granted bridging visas.
An ombudsman's report to parliament shows Interpol issued a "red notice" in March 2004 and the AFP had been alerted to an arrest warrant in China for the crimes of kidnap and murder. The man has maintained he is innocent.
He had spent more than eight years in detention where he had a "high" risk rating due to almost 30 cases of "disturbances, abusive/aggressive behaviour, assault, voluntary starvation, self harm and having a prohibited article".
In that time he married an Australian woman, had contact with her young daughter and then separated from his wife.
He was even awarded $15,000 in compensation after being moved between two detention centres in a 10-seat Mercedes van in a transfer that was deemed in violation of "the dignity, privacy and care needs of individual detainees".
The man was kept in a one-person compartment in the van and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission recommended the compensation.
Australian authorities did make a serious attempt to deport him after being shuffled between detention centres in Sydney, Victoria and South Australia in 2007 but he swallowed razor blades in protest and needed four weeks treatment in hospital.
A spokesman for Mr Bowen said avenues to remove the alleged killer were still being pursued.
"As a non-citizen, the government continues to look at removal options for this man. He has been refused a permanent visa that will allow him to remain in Australia on a permanent basis," the spokesman said.
"Without the assurances from China required for removal in line with Australia being a signatory to a number of international conventions, removal would breach our international obligations."
He must report weekly and if he fails to meet the conditions of the visa, Mr Bowen can cancel it, the spokesman said.