Wednesday December 29 2004 11:20pm WST
For Immediate Release
Word has just been received that the Bakhtiari family is about to board a chartered aircraft out of Australia.
Mr Bakhtiari has just been "taken" from his compound at the Baxter detention centre, and he was told when authorities collected him, that all his children are 'waiting for him at the airport'.
Earlier in the evening, a supporter had reported that a charter flight, most likely with about 20 seats, was likely to be expected during the night from Port Augusta. This supporter also expected this charter flight to directly fly outside Australia.
Project SafeCom's Jack Smit commented, that "this game-in-the-dark, probably the final round of playing around with the lives and wellbeing of the Bakhtiary family is not just adding to the multiple layers of trauma Mr Howard, Mr Ruddock and Minister Vanstone have inflicted on this family, it will be something that will haunt the government for a long time - and so it should."
"The evidence the government has used to paint the Bakhtiaris as a Pakistani plumber's family is unbelievably flimsy, and it remains to be seen whether the Pakistani authorities will let them into the country at all. It is not the first time that "deportees" come bouncing back to Australia after having been sent all over the world by immigration authorities."
"And, even while the family may be able to enter Pakistan, the claims peddled in the Australian media by the Minister as well as the former Minister about suspected 'lies' of Mr Bakhtiari, are just that - spurious claims, and in addition they bear no relation to the fact that they are and were genuine refugees, because they are Hazaras, a point nobody disputes, while Minister Vanstone has happily peddled the accusation in the media, to defend herself, that the family are not refugees."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
[phone number posted]