FIJIAN FAMILY DIVIDED BY AUSTRALIAN COURTS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 26) - A Fijian mother fighting and three of her children have been temporarily freed from an immigration detention center, seven days after the Australian Federal Court rejected her latest request to let her children stay in Australia.

Sereana Naikelekele and three of her children were freed early this morning, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Naikelekele, who has five children, will have to return to Fiji, although her children are Australian citizens.

The two eldest, Sally and Jope, were released into community care last year because they were older than 10 and deemed to be Australians under the Citizenship Act.

Until last Friday, three-year-old Glen, whose father is an Australian citizen, had been staying at Villawood with his mother and half-sisters, Mereani 6, and Lomani, 4.

The family's lawyer, Michaela Byers, told the Sydney Morning Herald that she had been given no reason for the sudden decision to grant them bridging visas until their case was finalized.

Even if the Australian-born children are granted citizenship, Naikelekele will have to return to Fiji. Her husband has already done so.

Naikelekele had been in Villawood since she was taken by immigration authorities from her factory job at Campsie in November 2002 and detained with her husband and Australian-born children.

She said she was preparing a High Court appeal to challenge the Federal Court's finding that Mereani and Lomani were aliens.

April 27, 2005

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