Sydney: alleged Villawood rioters plead not guilty

August 17:  Seven of the 16 asylum seekers charged over a riot at Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre have pleaded not guilty.

In April last year, nine buildings at Villawood Detention Centre burned down in a two-day riot involving up to 100 detainees.

Sixteen men, mainly from Iran and Afghanistan, were charged. Seven of the men pleaded not guilty at the Supreme Court in Sydney this morning. They face two charges each – one of unlawful violence and another of threatening Serco staff.

An interpreter was used and one man asked when the trial would be held. The Judge said that it would be in January next year.

That will mean a further delay for the processing of the group’s asylum claims which were put on hold by the Federal Government after the men were charged.

The remaining nine detainees, who did not enter a plea today, are expected to do so in November.

The court heard there have been some problems securing money for legal aid for them.

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