As Greens Candidate for Grayndler Sam Byrne travelled to Canberra to join the rally in support of Sheikh Mansour, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam submitted these questions in Parliament to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, asking him why no details of an ASIO assessment have ever been provided to the Sheikh:

  1. Did the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee (the committee) write to the Australian Government on 21 April 2010 requesting that Sheikh Mansour Leghaei not be deported until it had considered his case.
  2. Has the Government responded formally to the letter from the Chief of the UN human rights treaty division who wrote on behalf of the committee.
  3. Has Sheikh Mansour Leghaei or his legal representatives been provided with a summary or an indication of the elements of the evidence the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has collected against him.
  4. In this regard, how does the Government understand Australia’s obligations under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, taking into account the committee’s General Comment No. 33, paragraph 19 (CCPR/C/GC/33, dated 5 November 2009).
  5. Has the Government noted instances where the committee has expressed its indignation and found that the state has committed a grave breach of its obligations under the Optional Protocol, such as the committee’s Report of the human rights committee (UN General Assembly Official Record, 49th Sess., Supp. No. 40, UN Doc. A/49/40, vol. 1 (1994), para. 411) and Piandiong v. The Philippines (Communication No. 869/1999, para. 7.4).
  6. Will the Government provide an assurance to Sheikh Mansour Leghaei that he will not be removed from Australia until the committee has finally determined his case on the merits, as required by the committee’s interim measures request of 21 April 2010.
  7. Did the current Attorney General write two letters of support for Sheikh Mansour Leghaei describing him as ‘an asset to the Muslim community in particular and the Australian community at large’.
Scott Ludlum

Senator Scott Ludlum

Sydney, June 7: Nobel peace laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu has joined an international human rights campaign condemning Australia’s decision to deport a leading Iranian cleric later this month.

Sheikh Mansour Leghaei, a moderate Shia cleric, has been living peacefully with his family in Australia for 16 years. He has never been granted permanent residency due to two adverse security assessments made against him by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) several years ago.

Contrary to the right to a fair hearing in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Australia is a signatory, Australia has never informed Dr Leghaei of the nature of the allegations against him. A leading proponent of interfaith dialogue and religious tolerance in Sydney, Dr Leghaei strenuously denies he is a threat to Australia’s national security.

“In South Africa we used to have detention without trial. In Australia you have deportation without trial,”
said Bishop Tutu.

In April the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) formally requested Australia not to deport Dr Leghaei while it considered whether his human rights had been breached. On May 17 the Australian Immigration Minister, Senator Chris Evans, ignored the UN’s request and announced that Dr Leghaei had six weeks to leave.

“The impending deportation of Sheikh Mansour Leghaei is a travesty of justice. There is no doubt at all that his human rights have been violated,” said Dr Chandra Muzaffar, a leading Malaysian political scientist, Islamic reformist and activist.

A week after Amnesty International criticized the Australian Government for putting political self-interest ahead of human rights in its treatment of asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, international human rights advocates have rallied behind Dr Leghaei, including:

  • Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, retired Bishop of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
  • Máiread Corrigan-Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
  • Dr Chandra Muzaffar
  • Professor Hans Köchler, president of the International Progress Organization.
  • Dr Norman Finkelstein, American political scientist.
  • Bishop Desmond Tutu

Helen Signy +61 425 202 654
Father Dave Smith +61 409 620 009
Ben Saul +61 424 365 146

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