Court to rule on refugees

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THE Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling today on an application to stop the transfer of refugees from the Manus regional processing centre to two alternative camps.
Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, pictured, sitting as a single Supreme Court judge in Waigani yesterday, said he would make a ruling today on the application by human rights lawyer Ben Lomai representing Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani and others.
Lomai also sought orders to restore food, electricity and water supplies to the centre.
The centre was closed on Oct 31 in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling on April 26 last year that the detention of the refugees there was unconstitutional. Lomai argued that Boochani refused to be moved to the new camps in East Lorengau,  and his constitutional rights were breached when basic necessities such as water, food and electricity were discontinued by the Government.
Lomai is also seeking orders from the Supreme Court to restrain military personnel     from taking over the naval base where the camp is located. The lawyer representing Immigration and Border Security Minister Petrus Thomas said the Government had three centres available for the relocation of the refugees.
He said services were fully provided at the East Lorengau Detention Centre for refugees, West Lorengau Detention Centre for refugees and the Hillside Centre for non-refugees.

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