Vietnam war veteran released after being held for four months in immigration detention centre

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Vietnam War veteran holds his official program during a wreath laying ceremony during Vietnam Veteran's Day in Sydney. A Vietnam War veteran holds his official program during a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate Vietnam Veteran's Day in Sydney August 18, 2005. Around 100 veterans and members of the public took part in the commemorative service, which also marked the 39th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in which 18 Australian soldiers were killed. REUTERS/David Gray

A 69-year-old disabled Vietnam war veteran who fought for Australia, has been released and reunited with his family after spending four months locked up at the immigration detention centre. The discharge was possible only after the intervention of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Wednesday.

Michael McFadden, an Irish man who lived in Australia for the past 60 years, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorders and brain damage. He volunteered to fight for Australia and spent 10 months at the war during the late 1960s. He was held in Villawood detention centre since April while awaiting deportation. McFadden’s permanent residency in Australia was revoked following a recent prison term that extended beyond 12 months for minor offences relating to alcohol.

Nick Wiesener, McFadden’s lawyer, said McFadden was apprehended by a transit officer when he was caught drinking on a train.  That once while he was travelling in train he was caught drinking by the transit officer who tried to apprehend him. McFadden’s resisting the apprehension has led to the jail term. Since the term was more than 12 months, his permanent residency was cancelled.

His lawyers took his story to the media after they failed to get any reply from the minister for the past two months of his detention. "We made our submissions to the Immigration Minister over two months ago now, so look it's fantastic that with a bit of media coverage we're able to achieve this outcome and secure Mr McFadden's release," Wiesener said.

"It's a shame it's taken this long," RSL Veterans Centre East Sydney director Norbert Keough told AAP. "Somebody that is a disabled war veteran should've been processed quicker so that he could receive the appropriate level of care and treatment."

Keogh said that despite his disabilities, McFadden has tried to lead a normal life. He has three sons and six grandchildren and thus he holds strong ties with Australia.

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