Australian Authorities Release Tamil Asylum Family Detained for Five Years

Australian authorities have finally allowed the release of a Tamil asylum seeker family after they were detained for 5 years.

Acting Home Affairs Minister Jim Chalmers announced that the Murugappan family will now be allowed to return to Biloela in central Queensland

“This decision will allow them to get ‘home to Bilo’, a big-hearted and welcoming Queensland town that has embraced this beautiful family,” said Chalmers.

Priya Nadaraja and Nadesalingam Murugappan landed in Australia nearly a decade ago on separate boat journeys, seeking asylum due to fears of persecution in Sri Lanka due to their Tamil background.

Nadaraja and Murugappan eventually married and had two daughters, Kopika, 7, and Tharnicaa, 4, in remote Biloela. However, after determining that the family had no legal right to remain in Australia, the government arrested them in 2018.

The Murugappan family spent over 1,500 days in immigration detention, the majority of which was spent on Christmas Island, an Australian outpost in the Indian Ocean.

Locals in Biloela however, pushed to protect them and launched a campaign that garnered national support and the support of members of parliament from all parties, which led to the Murugappans’ recent release.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed his sentiments on the joyous occasion, “When I visited Biloela in 2019, I saw just how much the community loves Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharnicaa. Today my Government has enabled them to return home.”


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