LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Terrorism writer Abdel Bari Atwan’s
visa to enter Australia has been blocked by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
The distinguished writer was due to appear today at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival but remains in London where he has been waiting for a month to hear if Australia will grant him a visa.
The Herald understands ASIO received his application from the Immigration Department some weeks ago. A final decision on granting or refusing the visa will be made by the Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, who issued a statement yesterday saying Mr Atwan’s application was “being assessed and is subject to normal visa processing requirements”.
The editor-in-chief of the London newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi and a strong critic of the Iraq war, he told the Herald no country had ever refused him entry. “This is the first time in my life, if I am refused,” he said.
Mr Atwan was travelling to Australia to promote his widely acclaimed book The Secret History of al-Qaeda, now translated into 15 languages. Earlier this year he made several trips to the US for this purpose, giving lectures at Harvard, Chicago and Georgetown universities.