Peter Qasim

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Peter Qasim
Born (1974-05-14) May 14, 1974 (age 43)
Gopalla, Rajouri district, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Known for The longest-serving detainee
within the Australian immigration detention system

Peter Qasim (Urdu: پیٹر قاسم‎) was the longest-serving detainee in Australian immigration detention, having been detained there for over seven years. He had not been deported because he was stateless. He was detained at Baxter Immigration Reception and Processing Centre[1] before being transferred to an Adelaide psychiatric facility.[2]

He had applied to over 80 countries for asylum, but had not been accepted.[3] This includes India, which claims sovereignty over Kashmir, from where Qasim originates.[1]

Detention in Australia[edit]

In personal accounts Qasim described escaping from his home village of Gopalla in India, into Pakistan, then through Singapore and Papua New Guinea onto Australia. Qasim's provenance, however, proved difficult to verify due to a lack of supporting documentation or witnesses. This lack of evidence, and numerous unsuccessful attempts to validate Qasim's story were primarily responsible for his prolonged period of detention.[4]

His case has been publicised by the well-known Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith.[5] Australian authorities have maintained that he has not proven his nationality. He was invited to apply for a new visa on 20 June 2005. In 2005, Qasim was 31 years old, and was held at Baxter Detention Centre until, on June 9, 2005, he was moved to a psychiatric hospital. He received treatment for depression.[6]


On July 16, 2005 Qasim was granted a bridging visa by the Australian government.[7] The visa granted permission to work and to receive welfare benefits. He spent a total of six years and 10 months in detention.[8]

He is still holding a bridging (return pending visa) visa as of September 2013.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kathy Marks (13 May 2005). "Stateless refugee 'victim' of Australian immigration policy". The New Zealand Herald. APN Holdings NZ. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Longest serving detainee offered new visa". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 20 June 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Qasim's grim record-beating spell to end in days". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 22 June 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Life in detention for seven years" The Age. Saturday 5 March, 2005. Retrieved on May 2, 2013]
  5. ^ "Longest-serving detainee moved to psychiatric hospital". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2012-09-23. 
  6. ^ "Australia frees 'Indian' migrant". BBC News. 17 July 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Labor says released Qasim deserves permanency". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 17 July 2005. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Andra Jackson (5 January 2008). "Our lives are in limbo: former detainees". The Age. The Age Company. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Andra Jackson (7 September 2013). "Forgotten: a lonely life lived without hope". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 1 February 2014.