LATE IN JULY last year, Saddam Hussein’s court musician, Esam Moshi, received good news from the Refugees Review Tribunal, which swallowed its reservations and granted him the right to remain in Australia, where he arrived on an entertainment visa before applying for permanent residency. “The refugee tribunal also admitted it had some concerns about the man's claims,” the Herald Sun reported, “but said he did not endorse Saddam's regime and was ‘forced’ to provide entertainment.”
With every reason to celebrate the gullibility and trusting natures of the officials who took him, Moshi did just that. Less than a month later he was arrested and charged with a pair of brutal attacks on elderly women. It was no big deal, Moshi was quoted in The Age as saying, perhaps because he expected to find the same level of credulity infecting his adopted country’s courts.
Today, Judge Michael Bourke proved that hope false by sending him away for five years.
It costs something like $100,000 a year to house a prisoner, plus there will have been the benefits he has received, as Moshi told the court he was unemployed. Yet he was driving a taxi when he committed the assaults and is also reported to have been the former co-owner of a Reservoir reception centre, so there must at some point have been private wealth he was able to tap.
Is there no way this creature can be obliged to re-pay the vast sums that have been poured into helping him, preferably before he is deported? If neither of those options is possible then the law needs changing – and fast.