In a shocking example of the abuse and mismanagement of Australian detention centres, a mentally ill, Tamil refugee was bashed by Serco guards at Villawood detention centre in the early hours of Saturday morning, after being coaxed down from the top of a shipping container.

Around 20 Serco officers were involved in the incident, although it seems perhaps only five or six were directly involved in the assault.

The man who has suffered torture in Sri Lanka was left severely traumatised as well as physically injured. He was attended to by an ambulance and taken to hospital around 1.30am, daylight saving time, with injuries to his head, face, neck, his hand and legs. He is now at Liverpool hospital.

The 29 year-old Tamil refugee has been in detention for two and half years, most recently in the residential housing section of the Villawood complex.

“Coming just one day after the Parliamentary report, this incident shows why detention centres should be closed. It is bad enough that detention creates and exacerbates mental illness, it is disgraceful that a mentally ill man, should be subject to this kind of abuse, ” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Mandatory detention encourages an abusive attitude by guards, while Serco’s private management gives the government a convenient excuse for denying its responsibility for abuses in the detention system and complete lack of accountability.

“Chris Bowen should release this man from detention so he can be properly cared for. There must be a full inquiry into this man’s beating as well as Serco’s arbitrary system of punishments which allows asylum seekers to be moved to punishment sections of detention centres at a whim.

“The Parliamentary inquiry has only revealed the tip of the iceberg of the human rights’ abuse that is Australia’s detention regime.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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