Christmas Island Rioters Charged

Christmas Island rioters charged

The Sydney Morning Herald
January 20, 2010

Eleven asylum-seekers have faced court charged over a riot at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre last year.

Australian Federal Police charged 10 of the men with rioting, 10 with possession of a weapon and three with assault following the outbreak of violence at the detention centre on November 21, which allegedly involved up to 150 detainees from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

The 11 men, ranging in age from 21 to 36 and who remain at the detention centre, appeared before the Christmas Island Magistrates' Court on Wednesday and have been remanded to reappear at a later date.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans promised swift action if any of the men are found to be guilty.

“The 11 men charged by the AFP will remain in detention and resolution of their visa status will be delayed until all the charges have been heard and the court matters are resolved,” he said in a statement.

“If any of them are found to have committed a serious offence, it may affect the granting of a visa.

“Violent behaviour is unacceptable and people found guilty of violent offences should expect to face the full force of the law.”

Maximum penalties for the offences are five years' jail for riot, three years' jail for assault and three years' jail for weapons possession.

The AFP investigation into the riot is continuing.