Written by Staff Writer
10 Nov, 2015 | 4:02 pm
Detainees at Christmas Island’s immigration detention centre have been injured in a clash with police who seized back control after a riot sparked by the death of an escaped refugee.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said five detainees sustained minor lacerations and injuries ‘as a result of their interaction with the police and their refusal to comply with directions’.
Mr Dutton stated the police had used reasonable force against the detainees, the vast majority of whom were serious criminals including rapists and murderers, adding that a significant number of them were from New Zealand.
While the number of boat people drops in detention, the number of people in detention who have been involved in serious criminal activity or had their visas cancelled through a failure of the character test – those numbers increase.
Tear gas was used but he did not know if rubber bullets were fired. Another detainee stated that some rioters had been armed with chainsaws and firebombs.
The riot was sparked after a small group of Iranian detainees staged a protest over the death of escapee Fazel Chegeni Najad, an Iranian Kurdish man, on Sunday on November, 10.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said a core group of detainees had built barricades and threatened to use weapons.
Mr Dutton stated a sixth detainee had been evacuated for ‘minor injuries and a medical condition unrelated to incident’, although a Greens source told reporters the man had been evacuated after trying to overdose, having helped himself to drugs from the medical centre.
He added that the detainees had caused more than $1 million in damage and would be prosecuted. People who think they can operate outside of the law have another thing coming.
He went on to note that while the perimeter fence was not breached, security needed to be reviewed as the detainees were at no stage where there was no any threat to anybody in the Christmas Island community.
The fact that this incident started in the first place, the need to examine the response initially by the officers all of that will be examined in due course as they need to provide additional security.
Christmas Island Shire president Gordon Thomson stated Mr Chegeni Najad died from injuries sustained when he fell into a pit as he ran through the dark after jumping the centre fence.
Mr Chegeni Najad was granted refugee status in Australia after fleeing persecution in Afghanistan, but was convicted of assaulting a fellow detainee at the Curtin immigration detention centre in WA in 2011.
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