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Detained refugees could be freed within days

Refugees may be released into the community in Australia within days, following a landmark High Court ruling that found indefinite detention was unlawful.



Australia may begin releasing detained refugees within days following a  landmark High Court ruling.


A majority of the High Court on Wednesday found indefinite immigration detention was unlawful and overturned a 20-year-old precedent.


At least 92 detainees who can't return to their original country might be freed and another 340 in long-term detention could join them, the court was told.


Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said the government was carefully considering the implications of the judgment and would continue to work with authorities to ensure community safety.


"Other impacted individuals will be released and any visas granted to those individuals will be subject to appropriate conditions," he said on Friday.


Andrew Giles says the federal government is studying the implications of the court's judgment.


The plaintiff, a Rohingya man from Myanmar known as NZYQ, has been released.


He faced the prospect of life in detention as no country would resettle him because he raped a 10-year-old child.


Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the government acknowledged people had concerns.


"The government will do everything within its power to ensure that this release happens under the strictest possible conditions," he said.


"We will be assessing our options once the full decision of the High Court is made public and we can go through the reasoning of the court decision to work out what our next steps are, but we will ensure that those steps are absolutely legally robust."


Opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson said he didn't have any confidence in the assurances provided by the government.


"They haven't said what crimes these people have committed ... provided no detail or no transparency to the Australian people," he told reporters in Canberra.


The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said Australia held immigration detainees for an average of 708 days and 124 people had been detained for more than five years.


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