A refugee who has been the focus of an online petition has been granted release from immigration detention after 11 years.
The change.org petition, organised by Sr Elizabeth Young RSM, and signed by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, received over 25,000 signatures. The petition requested Federal Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton to release the refugee, known as ‘A’, who had been assessed as a refugee, but was still incarcerated.
In a message upon his release, ‘A’ said, “Dear Australians. By the will of God and your support, I got the visa and am now, finally, a free man. I am forever indebted to you all. At this moment I am reminded of the words of God. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’
“Special thanks to Sister Elizabeth, who started the petition. I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my lawyer, Ms. Sanmati Verma, and her legal team: Bethany Rose, Guy Gilbert and Anthony Krohn, who appeared for me in the case. To Claudia Graham and Dianne Reynolds, who assisted me and my family in so many ways. And to Minister Alan Tudge, and to all those who signed the petition and encouraged me in many ways.
May God bless you all! God bless!”
In a message to supporters, Sr Elizabeth explained, “It was about 11 years and 5 months, or 4179 days, that A was detained by our government. Throughout this time, his supporters and I have been privileged to know A; he is so incredible to have survived all of this. We have seen his strength of character, and faith in God and the goodness of people through such a trial.
“You have been part of this journey and it has made such a difference. Whether your part in this journey was large or small, every action or prayer mattered greatly in the scheme of things. It is not a small matter to care about those who are treated unjustly by this country and we continue to work and pray for all of them.
“Thank you once again and God bless you generously.”