The Australian government has announced on Friday that it would be freeing a Canadian citizen, Robert Somerville, whom it detained for entering Australia to visit his family.
The reason behind the decision of the government to free him from detention came following its consideration on Somerville’s attempt to fight the Islamic State militants in Syria. “Robert Somerville had been fighting with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) against Islamic State in Syria’s north-east but appears to have left for Thailand early in 2016,” The Guardian Australia reported.
Somerville is now waiting to board the airplane for Vancouver. He has, however, spent a major time of the week in Australia’s high-risk immigration detention centre. The Canadian detainee told VICE News that he believed he had a “mean face.” He was at the Brisbane facility where he was allowed to access internet but was not granted permission to move without handcuffs.
Somerville left Syria in January to visit his father in Brisbane this week, but he was detained at the airport when he admitted being in Syria. He told the authorities he had been fighting alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). “They stopped me, questioned me, and decided that my visa would be cancelled,” Somerville said. “The reason [was] I didn’t list my Kurdish name, though it’s not a legal name. They skirt around me being in Syria. It’s not the reason, but it is the reason, if you know what I mean.”
CBC Canada reported that the Australian Border Force and Immigration Department people did not give immediate response about the matter to Reuters. “The basis for the visa cancellation is at this stage unclear,” the Canadian detainee’s lawyer Jessie Smith told the ABC. “It may have political undertones and could be contestable.”
Somerville was in Thailand prior to entering Australia and was in Syria before that. He believed that his work was almost done now. “The operations are done,” he said. “I think I did a lot of good. I fought a lot; helped free Shingal, provided medical care,” he added. He also mentioned about his worse moments when he was in Afghanistan.