15/02/2020 Nadesalingam Murugappan, known as Nades, his wife Kokilapathmapriy Nadarasa, known as Priya, and their daughters Kopika, 5 and Tharunicaa, 3 leave the recreation centre on Christmas Island. Pic Colin Murty The Australian
15/02/2020 Nadesalingam Murugappan, known as Nades, his wife Kokilapathmapriy Nadarasa, known as Priya, and their daughters Kopika, 5 and Tharunicaa, 3 leave the recreation centre on Christmas Island. Pic Colin Murty The Australian

Tamil family remains in detention after high court decision

The Australian Full Federal Court has reached a decision on the youngest member of the Biloela Tamil family, who have been in detention on Christmas Island for more than 1000 days.

The previous decision relating to the immigration status of the youngest Tamil family member, three-year-old Tharnicaa, was upheld - meaning their fight to return home continues.

The Tamil family, consisting of Priya and Nades Murugappan and their Australian-born daughters Kopika, 5, and Tharunicaa, 3, had been living in Biloela when they were transferred to a Melbourne detention centre by immigration officials in 2018.

The family remained in a Christmas Island detention centre following a last minute ruling on an attempt to deport them to Sri Lanka.

Last year, a Federal Court ruled Tharunicaa was denied “procedural fairness” in making a protection visa application, which would have allowed her to stay in Australia.

The Commonwealth was ordered to pay legal costs of more than $200,000 as a result.

The Federal Government appealed to the full bench of the Federal Court, and on Tuesday the court ruled Justice Mark Mochinsky’s original ruling stands.

A cross-appeal brought by the family was also rejected.

Priya and Nades issued a statement in response to the ruling.

“Thank you to everyone in Australia for the support and love that they have shown us. We are very grateful. It helps us stay strong,” the couple said.

“We just want to go back to Biloela. We need our little girls to be safe. Every day, they ask when can we go home?”



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