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Three hurt in detention centre riot

[ABC, Sunday, 23 October 2011 09:18 No Comment]

Three people have been treated in hospital after a riot involving more than 100 people at the Scherger Immigration Detention Centre at Weipa on the Cape York Peninsula.

Refugee advocates say the violence broke out after a dispute over internet use yesterday afternoon, causing property damage at the facility.

The Immigration Department says two detainees and an officer were injured and taken to hospital, but the Serco Australia officer has since been released.

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Collective says he has been told a guard broke the nose and teeth of a Tamil man from Sri Lanka.

"[There were] broken teeth and there was a lot of blood. It was feared he had broken his nose and this particular guard had been involved in a couple of incidents earlier on," he said.

"Asylum seekers are not criminals and Serco guards are not prison officers and in any case there’s no place for that kind of behaviour.

"We want that Serco guard out of the compound while a thorough investigation takes place."

He says almost 700 people are crammed into the facility and it is very tense.

"[There is] a very high use of medications inside the place because of the long-term consequences on the mental health of asylum seekers," he said.

"Many of the Tamils have been in there 18 months and some of them over two years in detention waiting for answers.

[Full Coverage]

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