Unrest hits migrant centre

Canberra, Nov 9: The Australian Federal Government confirmed a number of people at the Christmas Island Detention Centre were involved in a “stand-off” with authorities following the death of an Iranian refugee.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said order at the centre is expected to be restored later in the day.

Medical, educational and sporting facilities have been damaged.

He said negotiations were underway with those involved in the stand-off which started on Sunday.

The unrest started after a group of Iranian inmates began protesting about the death of an Iranian Kurd, Fazel Chegeni, who had escaped from the facility.

Chegeni’s body was found at the bottom of a cliff. A report on his death was being prepared for the coroner and is being investigated by Australian Federal Police.

A man being held inside the centre said detainees had set fire to parts of the complex.

There were also reports guards have abandoned the centre and fences have been torn down.

Twenty-five year-old detainee Matej Cuperka said that ex-convicts who had their Australian visas cancelled after serving time in jail started the riot.

“The death (of the Iranian man) is very, very suspicious,” he said.

Dutton said there are currently 203 people at the Christmas Island Detention centre with no women or children held.

Australia sends intercepted asylum seekers to Christmas Island, a remote outpost 2,650km (1,650 miles) north-west of Perth and 380km south of Java in Indonesia.

Others are sent to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru in the South Pacific.