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March 17, 2011


by refugeeactioncoalitionsydney

Media release, 18 March 2011

The sit-down protest by around 100 asylum seekers on Thursday afternoon in the Curtin detention centre was sparked by the brutal restraint and beating of an Afghan asylum seeker by Serco guards.

It is believed that the man was trying to see his case manager when up to six Serco guards seized him and threw him to the ground, brutally restraining him.

The extent of the man’s injuries are not known but the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) has been told he was taken to the medical centre after the incident.

It is believed the Afghan man has been accepted as a refugee, and has been in detention for 10 months, still waiting for security clearance.

RAC was also told that this was not the first instance of rough treatment dished out to asylum seekers by Serco guards. “We want an answer, why are they beating this man?” asked a Curtin asylum seeker speaking by phone from the detention centre.

Although the protest is believed ot have ended on Thursday afternoon, tensions inside the detention centre have been growing over the past weeks because the number of rejections of asylum claims has increased dramatically. It is believed that more than half of the almost 1200 Afghan asylum seekers have now received initial rejections of their asylum claim.

Self-harm incidents inside the detention centre are at epidemic proportions. There is a serious self harm incident almost every day. Some of the injuries have been so serious that asylum seekers have had to be evacuated to Perth.

“On top of the tear gas and bean bag shots, this is yet another instance of heavy handed brutality by Serco. With the announcement of the death of the 20 year old Afghan man at the Scherger detention centre, it is clear that the inquiry into the excessive policing on Christmas Island has to be extended to cover the whole of the government’s detention regime,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The long delays and the uncertainty have turned detention toxic.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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