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Monday, 12 August, 2002, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Judge 'disturbed' by Woomera case
Brothers Alamdar and Montazar Baktiari
The brothers want to stay with their father
Psychological reports on two young migrants who broke out of detention but were refused asylum have revealed an "alarming" situation, according to an Australian judge.

Thirteen-year-old Alamdar Baktiari and his brother Montazar, 12, applied to the Family Court in Adelaide to be released from the Woomera detention centre and allowed to live with their father.


I would not want these boys to suffer any more than they need to

Justice Rodney Burr

The two attracted worldwide attention when they walked into the British Consulate-General in Melbourne asking for asylum last month after being part of a mass break-out from the controversial camp in the South Australia desert.

They were rejected and sent back to Woomera hours before their father - who reached Australia separately and was given a temporary protection visa - arrived to see them.

Their father, Ali Baktiari, is now supporting their application to live with him in Sydney while all their claims for refugee status are processed.

He was present in the court in Adelaide as Family Court Justice Rodney Burr described a psychologist's report on the health of the two boys as "disturbing".

Mr Justice Burr told the court: "The factual circumstances of the matter are disturbing as to the evidence presented.

"On the information before the court it is alarming and I would personally consider the matter an urgent one.

"I would not want these boys to suffer any more than they need to."

'No threat'

The Baktiari family claims to be from the Hazara minority in Afghanistan which was persecuted under Taleban rule.

But the Australian Government has said it has evidence that the family is from Pakistan.

It added that if the family were Hazaras, they were no longer under threat from the Taleban which has been ousted from power in Afghanistan.

The lawyer representing Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock, Geoffrey Kennett, argued the family court did not have the power to determine whether or not the boys should be released.

The judge agreed that the issue of the court's powers in the case had to be resolved but he said the case was so urgent that he wanted to be able to consider both issues at a single hearing.


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