Beatings at Baxter, Trumped-up Police charges, SA Premier vilification

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Narrogin
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130
Web: http://www.safecom.org.au/

Beatings at Baxter, Trumped-up Police charges, SA Premier vilification

More contact numbers on location in Baxter below ....

Media Release
Saturday 19 April 2003 - 22:30 WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

In this Media Release:

  • ACM/DIMIA BEATS DETAINEES, ORDERS THEM TO STOP SINGING

  • ILLEGAL KITE FLYING: TALIBAN-STYLE REPRESSION

  • PROJECT SAFECOM DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM MIKE RANN

  • ACM/DIMIA BEATS DETAINEES, ORDERS THEM TO STOP SINGING

Reports have just been received from protesters at the Baxter detention centre that on Saturday evening detainees have been beaten by guards for singing in chorus "Give us Freedom" in response to protesters at the fence outside the centre, and ordered to stop singing, and ordered to their rooms - some also being locked in 'solitary confinement' units. Another report claims that a detainee was beaten by a guard for speaking by phone with one of their regular support contacts - who happened to be outside amongst the protesters.

This report conflicts starkly with the explicit statements make by Minister Ruddock in his press conference on Saturday, during which he claimed "that life was 'as normal' in the centre, with detainees being able to make phone calls to the outside world.

"In today's press conference of Minister Ruddock, Project SafeCom is delighted though with one aspect: the Minister now actually, for the first time since 'the Tampa election', has admitted to the existence of 'solitary confinement' rooms in Australian detention centres.

Just recently, Minister Chris Ellison, in replies to questions in Parliament, flagrantly denied the existence of such spaces. Now we look forward to the Minister altering the information on his section of the DIMIA website, which informs the world that "solitary confinement" does not exist in Australia's detention centres". The Minister now has to stop manipulating this tiny aspect of the truth about what happens inside these centres.

For more information about these incidents:

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
Narrogin/Fremantle
[phone number posted]

Mira Wroblewski
Refugee advocate
NSW Highlands
[phone number posted]

Tim Kirchler
Rural Australians for Refugees
Goondiwindi
[phone number posted]

ILLEGAL KITE FLYING: TALIBAN-STYLE REPRESSION

"Yesterday's police behaviour at the Baxter detention centre protests amounts to a civilian control style fit for a dictatorship", a refugee group says.

"The arrest of a journalist on Saturday evening is evidence of that ridiculous out-of-control behaviour of the 500 riot police around the centre, almost outnumbering protesters."

People were arrested for flying kites in the hope detainees would see them, under a trumped-up construct as if flying kites above Baxter would be illegal, but a legal support team member amongst the protesters reported that even "prosecuting police in Port Augusta were still scanning their books in the hope they could make the charges and arrest stick", Jack Smit said.

This type of restriction is familiar for asylum seekers who lived under the Taliban regime, where kite-flying was an offense. punishable perhaps even by death. Mr Smit wondered "...whether Mike Rann wants his police force to look like the Taliban regime."

"The heavy-handed USA-style overkill of police makes one wonder whether the super-secure fences at Baxter are just made out of cardboard, in addition to the whole exercise being an extreme waste of Federal and State resources."

"Mike Rann's agenda in the handling of his hostile Federal opponents is appalling and must be questioned around Australia. Does he perhaps want a Border Protection Bill for South Australia as well?"

For more information about these incidents:

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
Narrogin/Fremantle
[phone number posted]

Elicia Savvas
(Legal Support team member)
Adelaide Refugee advocate
[phone number posted]

Pamela Curr
National Spokesperson for the Greens
Melbourne
[phone number posted]

PROJECT SAFECOM DEMANDS APOLOGY FROM MIKE RANN

"South Australian Premier Mike Rann has enraged WA based Project SafeCom by engaging in vilification of decent Australians, who travelled to the Baxter detention centre to attend the Easter protests", spokesperson Jack H Smit said today.

Speaking about those from other States such as Western Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland, Mike Rann this Thursday on Radio 5AA spoke of senior academics with PhD degrees, a TAFE teacher from Newcastle, a practicing GP from Queensland and lawyers, when he called the protesters "meatheads and ferals" in the context of the expected Baxter protests, Mr Smit said.

"Our Incorporated Association will write to Mike Rann and demand an apology from him. Mike Rann, who rants and raves about law and order, conveniently forgets that Labor was founded on protests, pickets, demonstrations and protest marches, and he ought to be extremely ashamed of himself, and instead remember his State child abuse legislation, which ought to compel him into court action, charging the Federal Minister for Immigration Philip Ruddock with child abuse".

National Greens Spokesperson for Refugees Pamela Curr adds, that a significant number of senior Australians are amongst the protesters, people even older than seventy years of age.

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
Narrogin/Fremantle
[phone number posted]

Pamela Curr
National Spokesperson for the Greens
Melbourne
[phone number posted]

Fleur Taylor
Refugee Action Collective
Melbourne
[phone number posted]

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