Said Imasi has filed in high court over 2004 Al-Kateb v Godwin ruling, which effectively legalised indefinite ‘administrative detention’

A landmark immigration case that effectively enabled indefinite detention in Australia is facing a high court challenge on behalf of a stateless man who has been locked up for nine years and has almost zero prospect of being released.

Lawyers for the detainee, who does not know where he was born and has no country that will claim him, are seeking to have the 2004 Al-Kateb v Godwin case reopened.

Related: Australia is reported to UN human rights council over illegal detention of asylum seekers

That the Al-Kateb ruling couldn’t apply in such a distinct and more extreme case, where removal of the detainee is not likely to ever happen.

That two legislative amendments – allowing community detention orders and ministerial discretion to grant any visa – mean the Al-Kateb ruling no longer governs the construction of the Migration Act.

That the Al-Kateb case was wrong and should be reopened.

Related: 'Every day I am crushed': the stateless man held without trial by Australia for eight years

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