Biloela Tamil family to stay on Christmas Island until Feb

 

A TAMIL asylum-seeker family detained on Christmas Island will remain there for at least two more months ahead of a Federal Court trial.

Sri Lankan couple Priya and Nades Murugappan, and their Australian-born daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa, who had made their home in Biloela, are fighting federal government attempts to deport the family.

The family in detention on Christmas Island. Picture: Ten News
The family in detention on Christmas Island. Picture: Ten News

The family were taken to detention in Melbourne in March 2018, then transferred to Christmas Island earlier this year.

Priya, Nades and Kopika have already been refused refugee status, but a Federal Court fight hinges on Tharunicaa and her right to apply for protection.

A hearing is scheduled for two days in mid-to-late February, and the family will remain in detention until the case is finalised.

It will likely to be heard during the weeks beginning February 17 or 24, but the precise timing has not been finalised.

Justice Mark Moshinsky today also made an order allowing lawyers for Tharunicaa to request documents about the case, such as internal departmental correspondence, be handed over to them.

After the hearing, immigration lawyer Carina Ford said the Tamil family were "doing OK" but remained isolated.

The government in August moved to deport Priya, Nades, their-then four-year-old Kopika and Tharunicaa, two, before a last-minute court order forced the plane destined for Sri Lanka to land in Darwin.

The United Nations has asked they be released from Christmas Island detention but the government won't allow it.

Priya previously described the conditions as jail-like but said it was preferable to being returned to Sri Lanka.



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