Novak Djokovic back in detention in Australia, declared ‘public threat’

Novak Djokovic will spend Saturday night in immigration detention before the world’s tennis number one seeks a court ruling to stop his deportation from Australia.

Novak Djokovic back in detention as Australia cancels visa (Reuters Photo)

Novak Djokovic back in detention as Australia cancels visa (Reuters Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Novak Djokovic has been detained for 2nd time in Australia
  • Novak Djokovic’s visa was cancelled a second time on Friday
  • Immigration Minister Hawke said the decision was taken in public interest

Australia detained Novak Djokovic for a second time on Saturday, calling the tennis star a threat to public order as the world’s tennis number one seeks a court ruling to stop his deportation.

It will be a second stint in detention for Djokovic, who spent his first four nights in Australia in a hotel before a judge freed him on Monday after finding a decision to cancel his visa on arrival had been unreasonable.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke decided to cancel the Serbian superstar’s visa because his presence could foster opposition to the Covid-19 vaccination in Australia, court documents released after an initial hearing in the Federal Court on Saturday showed.

“Although I … accept that Mr. Djokovic poses a negligible individual risk of transmitting COVID-19 to other people, but I nonetheless consider that his presence may be a risk to the health of the Australian community,” Hawke said in a letter to Djokovic and his legal team.

Justice David O’Callaghan set a hearing on Djokovic’s appeal for 9:30 a.m. Sunday (2230 GMT Saturday), with the question of whether it would be held before a single judge or a full-court still to be determined.

Djokovic’s lawyers said on Friday they would argue deportation would only further fan anti-vaccine sentiment and would be as much a threat to disorder and public health as letting him stay and exempting him from Australia’s requirement that all visitors be vaccinated.

A court order on Friday night had required the 34-year-old to surrender to immigration officials for an interview on Saturday morning before he would be taken to his lawyers’ office for the preliminary hearing. After leaving his lawyers, he is to be taken into immigration detention.

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