Australia again places Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic under administrative detention

Australia again places Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic under administrative detention
Australia again places Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic under administrative detention

On Saturday, the Australian authorities re-placed the Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic under administrative detention, a day after canceling his entry visa for the second time due to his failure to receive the anti-Coronavirus vaccine, pending a judicial decision in this case, which took political and diplomatic dimensions, after Serbian President Alexander renewed Vucic Friday criticized Australia, accusing it of “abusing” Djokovic.

Serbian tennis star status Novak Djokovic He was under administrative detention Saturday, after Australia revoked his visa to enter its territory for the second time because he had not received the anti-Covid-19 vaccine, pending a judicial decision in the case.

The Australian authorities said that the presence of Djokovic, who has not received a vaccination against Covid-19, on its soil, “could encourage anti-vaccination sentiment”, considering that he should be expelled from the country. The decision means preventing Djokovic from obtaining an entry visa to Australia for a period of 3 years, except in exceptional circumstances.

In the context, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke explained in a statement that he had taken the decision to cancel the entry visa “for reasons of health and order,” noting that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government was “strongly determined to protect Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Stay and fight or leave”

Later, the Australian Prime Minister considered in a statement that the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa comes within the framework of protecting the “sacrifices” of the Australian people. “Australians have made so many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expected those sacrifices to be protected,” he said.

For his part, the famous Australian lawyer Christopher Livingstone considered that the Serbian star camp can apply to the Federal Court, saying, “Djokovic has a competent team around him. He can stay and fight or leave.”

Hours after the decision, the judge, who had previously ruled not to extradite Djokovic from Australia, called for an emergency hearing. “A hearing before Federal Court Judge Anthony Kelly will be held this evening at 20:45 local time (09:45 GMT),” a court spokesman said in a statement, without elaborating.

During the hearing, the representative of the Australian government announced that his country had postponed the deportation of Djokovic until the completion of consideration of this case. On the other hand, Djokovic’s lawyer confirmed that the government will detain his client on Saturday after the immigration authorities hear him. At the end of the hearing, Victoria State Judge Anthony Kelly announced that he had abandoned the case, which would move to the Australian Federal Court, despite the objection of Djokovic’s lawyers, who feared the slowness of the proceedings.

The dream of the tenth championship

Djokovic, the world’s first ranked Yemeni, won the Australian Championship for the tenth time in his career and set the record for the number of major titles in the Grand Slam tournaments (21), but his quest is threatened.

Djokovic arrived in Australia on the fifth of January, thanks to a special exemption, as he contracted Covid on the 16th of last month, but the authorities refused to allow him to enter, considering that the reasons for exempting the unvaccinated player do not meet the strict conditions imposed on entering its territory in the fight against The virus, his visa is refused and he is transferred to the Melbourne Passenger Detention Center.

The Serbian star appealed the decision and succeeded in his quest after a federal judge ordered his immediate release. Indeed, this happened and he trained normally on the main stadium of the Australian Championship in recent days, but his participation was suspended pending the decision of the Minister of Immigration that was taken today.

Djokovic appeared at an event in Belgrade the day after December 16, when he tested positive, according to the information he provided to the Australian immigration authorities. He explained that he had not obtained the result of the examination that he underwent after he came the next day (December 17) in Belgrade to honor young Serbian players without wearing a mask, according to published photos issued by the Serbian Tennis Federation on the communication platforms. He also underwent a photo session with the French newspaper “L’Equipe” two days later, that is, on the 18th of the mentioned month, according to the newspaper.

Djokovic confirmed that before his meeting with the young Serbian players, he had undergone a new examination, which had a negative result, and he said in defense of himself, “I did not feel any symptoms and was in good condition, I did not know the result of my positive examination before the end of that event.” The organizers of the Australian Open, the first of the four grand slams, had put Djokovic’s name during the drawing of the draw on Thursday, where it pitted him against his compatriot Miomir Kismanovic, ranked 78 in the world, in the first round.

Political and diplomatic controversy

With the outbreak of the Omicron mutant among Australians, Djokovic’s refusal to receive the vaccine caused great controversy. The legal dispute with Djokovic has political backgrounds in a country that has lived for two years with one of the most difficult restrictions in the world to confront the outbreak of Covid-19 and is preparing for general elections in May.

“Australia has a policy of not allowing unvaccinated people into the country. It is not understood how we got to this point,” opposition Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese said in an interview on Thursday. “How did Novak Djokovic manage to come here?” he asked.

With the number of hospital admissions increasing in Melbourne, the state of Victoria announced Thursday that it would reduce the capacity of stadiums by 50 percent. Fans of the tournament, which begins on Monday, must receive a vaccination or obtain a medical exemption.

For his part, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic entered the line of events on Friday, criticizing the Australian Prime Minister and accusing his country of “abusing” Djokovic. “Why do you mistreat him, and why do you treat him in this way, not only against him, but also against his family and the whole country?” Vucic said on the communication platforms.

In this context, American player Tennys Sandgren, who is also a non-vaccinator, denounced on Twitter the “insult” to Djokovic and the desire to “be an example.” Serbian Janko Tipsarevic also said that “everyone who took part in this procedure” should “be ashamed.” “It becomes absurd that a healthy person (…) is a threat to the public,” said Igor Chitojevich, the doctor who helped Djokovic to the top of the world of yellow football.

It is possible that Djokovic will lose his place as the world’s number one if he does not participate in the Australian Open, while the Russian Daniil Medvedev, ranked second in the world, or the third German Alexander Zverev will win the title.

FRANCE 24/AFP

 
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