1. “Both girls were screaming.” Deportation of Tamil asylum seeker family stopped mid-air by last minute injunction.
A judge has granted a last-minute temporary injunction to stop a Tamil asylum seeker family being deported from Australia.
The family of four left Melbourne Airport for Sri Lanka on a non-commercial flight at about 11pm on Thursday.
However, the plane landed in Darwin early on Friday and Priya, her husband Nadesalingam, and their two Australian-born daughters were taken to accommodation, according to a family friend who was in contact with them by phone.
“They’re pretty traumatised as you can imagine but also very relieved to be still here,” former Biloela resident Simone Cameron told AAP.
Priya’s arm was injured after she was forcibly taken onto the plane in Melbourne, Ms Cameron added.
“The officers came down and didn’t care, they just dragged her. She was screaming, both girls were screaming. It was very, very traumatic,” Ms Cameron told the The Age through tears.
A photo of Priya obtained by AAP showed her wrist had been bandaged.
The Age reported journalist Rebekah Holt spoke to a distressed Priya about 10pm. Ms Holt said Priya told her that she had been separated from her husband and children.
A video posted to Facebook showed Nadesalingam with his two daughters on the plane.
The plane landed in Darwin just before 3am on Friday, according to flight tracking website flightradar24.com.
Video footage posted on Twitter by a supporter appeared to show the family being escorted from the plane and leaving in a white van.
Lawyers secured an interim injunction in the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne on Thursday blocking the family’s removal.
The orders made by Judge Heather Riley state that the Minister for Immigration be restrained from removing the applicant from the Commonwealth of Australia until noon on Friday.
The order also states that an application be listed for hearing at 10am on Friday in the Melbourne registry of the Federal Circuit Court.
The Department of Home Affairs has been contacted for comment.