Australia cancels visa for Djokovic who will appeal again

EFE

The Government of Australia canceled this Friday for the second time the visa of the number one in world tennis, the Serbian Novak Djokovic, who will be arrested on Saturday while waiting for a court hearing to be held this weekend in which he will try to avoid his deportation.

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After several days studying the case, the Minister of Immigration, Alex Hawke decided today to re-cancel Djokovic’s visa with the intention of expelling him from the country, which could also mean a three-year ban on returning to Australia.

“Today I have exercised my power under section 133C (3) of the Immigration Law to cancel the visa of Mr. Novak Djokovic based on sanitary reasons and the maintenance of order because it is in the public interest,” the minister said in a brief statement by remarking that he “carefully” weighed the information provided by the parties.

After the annulment, an Australian judge ordered in an emergency hearing that Djokovic not be deported “immediately” until the justice reviews the decision made by the Immigration Minister on Sunday, which will be challenged by the tennis player’s lawyers.

Judge Anthony Kelly also ruled that Djokovic remains free until 8 a.m. on Saturday (23:00 GMT on Friday) when he goes to an appointment with immigration officials in the city of Melbourne, where he will be detained.

However, two customs agents will then transport Djokovic to a place where he can meet with his lawyers to prepare the case.

The hearing will be held in the Federal Court, a higher court, and is expected to begin and end on Sunday, one day before the start of the Australian Open, which takes place between January 17 and 30 in the city of Melbourne.

TWO CANCELLATIONS AND ONE JUDGE

Djokovic traveled to Melbourne from Spain on January 5 with a medical exemption so as not to be vaccinated as he had recently been infected with covid-19, although upon arrival the Immigration authorities canceled his visa and detained him.

Last Monday, a court also chaired by Judge Kelly ordered the tennis player’s release after understanding that he had not been treated “fairly”.

On Wednesday, Djokovic admitted that his representatives made “human errors” in his declaration to enter Australia, since it was indicated that he had not traveled in the previous 14 days, but the truth is that he had moved from Serbia to Spain.

In addition, he acknowledged an “error of judgment” after having attended an interview with the French media outlet L’Equipe on December 18 in Belgrade, despite knowing that he had covid-19.

STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER

Prime Minister Scot Morrison today defended the second cancellation of Djokovic’s visa, highlighting the sacrifices made by Australians during the pandemic in the country, which has been one of the strictest in applying restrictions.

“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly hope that the result of those sacrifices will be protected,” the president said.

However, the tennis player’s lawyer, Nicholas Wood, stressed during today’s hearing that Djokovic should not be deported because he has a medical exemption and does not represent a risk to the community.

“Mr. Djokovic might have to play on Monday or Tuesday. In those circumstances, we are very concerned about the weather,” Wood said.

The lawyer also pointed out that Minister Hawke decided to cancel the tennis player’s visa because he considered that his presence could stir “anti-vaccine sentiment” in Australia and stated that the cancellation of his visa could affect the tennis player’s career.

Djokovic is seeking his tenth title at the Australian Open and to be the most decorated tennis player in history with 21 Grand Slams, beating his main rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Serbian authorities defended the number one and criticized the treatment he received when he was held for four days in a special hotel where some immigrants and refugees have been deprived of their liberty for years.

However, they also indicated that Djokovic will have to explain the circumstances in which he skipped isolation when he was positive for covid-19.

The controversy occurs at a delicate moment in Australia, which is holding elections this year and is experiencing its worst wave of covid-19 due to the omicron variant, which has shot up cases from less than 2,000 in December to an average of more than 100,000 this week.

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