Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Detainee free as a bird

AUSTRALIA's longest serving detainee, Peter Qasim, was yesterday treated to his first helicopter ride, courtesy of Dick Smith. The adventurer and businessman - who actively campaigned for Mr Qasim's release - flew over Sydney in the helicopter. "A couple of months before he'd been locked up for seven years and here he was, free at last," Mr Smith said. Mr Qasim spent six years and 10 months in the Woomera and Baxter detention centres in South Australia before being released in July. He is now living in Perth and working as a poultry butcher. The Federal Government issued Mr Qasim with a Removal Pending Visa when he was released. The visa means he must leave Australia and return to Kashmir when it is safe.

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