Push to free Ro­hingya mi­nors held at camp

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

PETALING JAYA: A five-year-old girl is among 56 Ro­hingya who have been lan­guish­ing in the Be­lan­tik Im­mi­gra­tion De­pot for more than half a year now.

Their lawyer is try­ing to get the girl and six other kids, the el­dest aged 14, re­leased through an ap­pli­ca­tion that will be heard in the Alor Se­tar High Court to­day.

The kids have been in de­ten­tion at the Be­lan­tik Im­mi­gra­tion De­pot since they ar­rived in the wa­ters off Langkawi on April 3.

The 56 Ro­hingya were in a boat from Rakhine in Myan­mar that was in­ter­cepted by the Malaysian Mar­itime En­force­ment Agency (MMEA).

The 19 men, 17 women and 20 chil­dren on the boat were then handed over to the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment.

At­tempts to gain ac­cess to the seven mi­nors by UNHCR, lawyers and fam­ily mem­bers were not suc­cess­ful when a habeas cor­pus ap­pli­ca­tion was filed on Sept 10, said lawyer Collin Andrew.

The ap­pli­ca­tion seeks an or­der from the court to re­lease the mi­nors who are seek­ing asy­lum or in the al­ter­na­tive, for them to be placed at a shel­ter in­stead of the puni­tive in­def­i­nite im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion.

Andrew said they could only act for the seven mi­nors as only their fam­ily mem­bers could be lo­cated.

The re­spon­dents in the case are the com­man­dant of the Be­lan­tik Im­mi­gra­tion De­pot, the di­rec­tor of the Kedah Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment, the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment and the Home Min­istry.

The Bar Coun­cil, Suhakam and Asy­lum Ac­cess are hold­ing a watch­ing brief in the case.

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