A 23-year-old Somali asylum seeker who is pregnant after allegedly being raped in one of Australia's offshore detention centers, Nauru, was flown back there, the Guardian reports, in what looks like an attempt to dodge a potential court order to keep her in Australia for medical treatment.
Australian refugee advocates, lawyers, and even some reporters reacted with disgust at the government's move to take the woman, going by the pseudonym Abyan, back before the injunction could be ordered:
The woman was taken to Australia from Nauru on Monday after advocates campaigned for her right to be given the option of having an abortion–in Nauru, abortion in rape cases is illegal. Abyan has said she fled Somalia after being raped, only to be allegedly raped again in Nauru and then sent back to the scene of her rape without having seen a counsellor in Australia.
“I cannot go back to where this happened to me; I cannot go to where I was raped. What happened to me there [in Nauru] is what caused me to run away from Somalia. What happened to me in Somalia is what happened to me there [in Nauru],” Abyan said after arriving in Australia this week, according to the Guardian.
But today, just before her lawyers went before a federal court judge to seek an injunction against her removal, the federal government chartered a jet and sent her back to Naura.
Authorities told her lawyers that they did this because she had refused a medical visit for the abortion, which immigration officials assumed meant she did not want the abortion, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. Her lawyers said she just wanted to talk to a counsellor before deciding whether to go through with the procedure.
Abyan is the second asylum seeker to come forward with allegations of being raped after being sent to Nauru by the Australian government. The Nauru's justice minister said earlier this week that the other woman may be charged for making what they say is a false claim that she was raped.
The Australian government has a damning track record on how they treat asylum seekers. They've been condemned by the UNHCR, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch for detaining asylum seekers who arrive by sea in prison-like conditions on islands not even owned by Australia.