PETALING JAYA: Convicted murderer Sirul Azhar Umar’s freedom is likely to be cut short after the Australian parliament passed new laws to re-detain the “worst of the worst” of a group of high-risk offenders released from immigration detention last month.
The bill was approved by the house of representatives late Wednesday night after it was passed by the senate the day before, but not without a fiery debate, according to Australian media reports.
Under the new laws, non-citizens who were released would be re-detained if there was a high probability they would commit violent or sex crimes.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, immigration minister Andrew Giles was unsure how many of the 148 non-citizens would be detained again.
However, he said during the late-night parliamentary session that the new power to lock them up would apply to the “worst of the worst”, rather than all members of the released group.
This is likely to include those who had committed murder, rape and paedophilia. The minister also declined to say when the re-detention would take place.
Those considered notorious criminals were fitted with electronic tracking devices and slapped with curfews after their release more than three weeks ago.
Sirul is facing the death sentence in Malaysia for murdering Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006, together with his former police colleague Azilah Hadri.
He fled to Australia in 2015, before the Federal Court overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision to free him and Azilah and reinstated the High Court’s earlier decision sentencing them to death.
He was under detention at the Villawood immigration detention centre until his release recently after the High Court in Australia ruled last month that the indefinite immigration detention was unlawful.
In line with its laws, Canberra will not deport those facing the death sentence back to their countries of origin.
Azilah, meanwhile, has been detained in Kajang Prison and is among 1,000 inmates on death row who have applied for a review of their sentences.