Reigning Australian Open champion and top-ranked worldwide tennis player Novak Djokovic has secured the right to stay in Australia after being incarcerated over his vaccination status, with a Melbourne judge ruling that he must be released from immigration detention on Monday morning.
The ruling potentially opens up a possibility for Djokovic to compete in the Australian Open. The Australian government immediately detained Djokovic upon his arrival to the country, after the Victoria state government had promised a medical exemption to the nation’s quasi-fascist “health pass” coronavirus vaccine mandate system.
In his ruling overturning Djokovic’s imminent deportation, Judge Anthony Kelly explained that the Australian government had legally cancelled Djokovic’s visa before the Serbian national had the chance to respond to the notice of deporation. This defies Australian law.
“If the applicant had had until 8:30 a.m., he could have consulted others and made submissions to the delegate about why his visa should not be canceled,” Judge Kelly said of the government’s misconduct. The Australian government has been accused of political partisanship in moving to deport Djokovic, with citizens of the unfree country accusing their government of a double standard for issuing the tennis star an exemption from the rules to begin with.
Freedom demonstrators had rallied in support of Djokovic while he was detained in an Australian immigration facility, with members of the local Serbian criticizing the politicized charade staged by the Australian government. Australia maintains some of the most draconian coronavirus restrictions in the democratic world, barring unvaccinated citizens from participation in public life.
It’s unclear if Djokovic will be allowed to play in the Australian Open tournament, which he’s won three times in a row. The Australian government can still fight to deport Djokovic, with the federal immigration minister possessing the powers to issue another visa cancellation.
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