Chris Bowen advocated for the freeing from detention of Assyrian man Isaac Isaac

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EXCLUSIVE Andrew Clennell
The Daily Telegraph
Villawood Detention Centre.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen / Picture: Mark Stewart
SHADOW Treasurer Chris Bowen has twice made representations this year advocating for the freeing from detention of an Assyrian man who was jailed for using his brother’s passport to get into Australia.

The Daily Telegraph has obtained two letters Mr Bowen wrote to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton in May and last month where he sets out the case of Isaac Isaac, now in Perth Detention Centre. Mr Bowen says in the letters he is writing on behalf of Mr Isaac’s brother, Gilbert William Isaac, of Wetherill Park.

The letters appear in contrast to Mr Bowen and Labor’s recent hardline policy change on “turning back the boats”, revealed by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at the recent ALP national conference.

Mr Bowen’s May letter says Isaac Isaac escaped Iraq in 2001 and spent 10 years in Greece, where he made several unsuccessful applications to migrate to Australia as a refugee.

“In 2012, finding himself in what his brother describes as extreme hardship, Isaac travelled to Australia illegally on his brother’s passport, then claimed asylum under the false name of Sargon Tooma Zia,” Mr Bowen wrote.

Mr Isaac served four months jail for the use of his brother’s passport.

Mr Bowen then details how Mr Isaac was convicted of making a false statement to an immigration officer and served his sentence at Parklea jail and was released early “for good behaviour” before transfer to Villawood, then Perth.

The representation from Mr Bowen came after representations made to him by Fairfield Liberal councillor Charbel Saliba.

In his first letter dated May 29, Mr Bowen writes: “It is purported that being in a state of limbo, not knowing what his future holds, Isaac has even suggested that he is willing to be sent back to Iraq, where he has genuine fear for his safety, rather than continue in detention.”

Mr Bowen writes that while he did not condone Mr Isaac’s actions, “I ask that the enclosed correspondence be considered” in determining his future.

In the July 6 letter, Mr Bowen appears to oppose the return of Mr Isaac to Iraq, given concerns expressed by local Assyrian community members.

Mr Bowen, MP for the Western Sydney seat of McMahon, said he received representations on the issue from Mr Saliba and had learned that Liberal minister Marise Payne had also written in support of Mr Isaac.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen / Picture: Mark Stewart

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen / Picture: Mark Stewart