Indonesian boat boys to sue Australia


A group of 23 Indonesian youths plan to sue the Australian government for compensation after being jailed as minors on people-smuggling charges

A group of 23 Indonesian youths will sue the Australian government for jailing them in adult prisons on people-smuggling charges when they were minors

The youths preparing to file the civil suit were held in adult prisons in Australia between 2008 and 2011 but released without convictions

They were jailed as adults after Australian authorities relied on wrist x-rays to determine whether they were over 18 years old

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Lisa Hiariej, said the 23 former detainees wanted the Australian government to apologise and pay compensation

«We demand the Australian government apologise and give them compensation,» she said on Tuesday

«We haven’t decided how much we’re demanding because we have to calculate first how long those kids were detained for and so on»

Ms Hiariej said the group had the support of the National Commission on Children Protection, the National Commission on Human Rights and parliamentarian Lily Wahid, who oversees foreign affairs

The Australian Human Rights Commission reported last year that 180 Indonesian boat crew had been held in custody or in Australian jails despite claiming to be underage

The 23 youths in the lawsuit were among a group of 48 who have been returned to Indonesia from Australia after being wrongly jailed as adults for an average of more six months

Most are said to come from poor fishing communities where people smugglers commonly recruit boat crews

A spokesman for Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the Australian government was yet to receive any official word of the claim

«The government has not received any formal notification of this claim. Where it is considered that such claims do not have merit, the Australian government will defend them,» the spokesman said


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