Correcting the record
Detention arrangements for Malaysian national
Today’s report in the The Australian, ‘Malaysia murder sets off explosion of intrigue’, contains a number of inaccuracies in relation to the detention circumstances of a Malaysian national.
The individual was not, as claimed by The Australian “taken into custody by Australian immigration officials on an Interpol red notice”.
He was taken into immigration detention in January 2015 following the expiry of his Electronic Travel Authority (visa), which legally allowed his presence in the community to that point.
The individual has no specific or special privileges at Villawood over and above those available to the general detainee population. He has not been placed “under the highest protection” but has detention arrangements relevant to his circumstances.
Contrary to The Australian’s claims, the Australian Border Force has never stated it holds concerns the detainee “could be harmed or threatened by officers from Malaysia’s Special Branch intelligence agency”. This is untrue.
The Department has closely reviewed video messages allegedly recorded by the detainee while in immigration detention, including having them translated independently.
Contrary to claims in The Australian, the videos do not specifically reference a 31 December 2015 “press conference” in Malaysia.
The relevant comment is to a “media statement” made by the detainee’s legal representatives in Malaysia “recently”. This is consistent with media commentary in Malaysia following a decision of the Malaysian Federal Court in January 2015.*
The generalised nature of other statements made in the videos, and the detainee’s personal appearance, are consistent with them having been recorded before the individual entered immigration detention. The Australian was told this before publication.
The Department stands by its statements to The Australian the video messages were filmed before the individual entered immigration detention.
The Department will examine any new material or evidence which is presented to it.
* The original version of this statement wrongly referred to the Malaysian High Court. The statement has since been updated.
Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244