Refugees launch fresh bid for release, compensation


THE 731 asylum seekers on Manus have filed a fresh application in the Supreme Court seeking orders for their release and the payment of compensation for their illegal detention.
Their earlier application was rejected by a three-man bench on Oct 27 because they had not signed the application submitted by their lawyer Ben Lomai. Lomai signed the application himself.
The new application was signed by each of the 731 asylum seekers and filed on Nov 4.
It named the National Executive Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato and the State as respondents.
Lomai told the court yesterday presided by Justice Stephen Kassman that the State had rejected the asylum seekers’ Section Five notice on the basis that six months had lapsed since the court had handed its decision on an application filed by former Opposition leader Belden Namah on April 26.
The Section Five notice was served on the State on Nov 4.
Lomai told the court that there were previous cases which had set the stage for the enforcement of constitutional rights in the Supreme Court.
The asylum seekers’ application sought to enforce their constitutional rights in relation to the court’s decision in Namah’s application.
In Namah’s application, a five-man bench declared that the detention centre on Manus was unconstitutional and illegal.

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