Locked Up Down Under

Mon Sep. 12, 2005 3:39 PM EDT

An American peace activist has been detained by the Australian government, with all signs pointing to his imminent deportation. Texan Scott Parkin has been in the country since June on a six-month visitor's visa. According to Houston IndyMedia, he spent some of his time in Australia hiking and camping.

But that's not likely to be the reason he caught the eye of Aussie authorities. Parkin, a community college professor, recently organized a protest at the Forbes Global CEO Conference, held in Sydney, which resulted in at least ten arrests. He's also been hosting workshops and speaking at activist conferences. The government has yet to give a clear reason for his detention—an Immigration Department spokesperson said that he'd been collared on "character grounds."

So far this hasn't broken in the U.S. press—Parkin's hometown paper is pretty busy these days. But it's big news in Australia, where Prime Minister John Howard's government is under fire for its new proposals to weaken civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism.

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