7 December: A Villawood detainee who sprayed and threw fire extinguishers at security officers during a riot at the immigration detention centre has been sentenced to at least 16 months’ jail.
However, Mahmoud Reza Dadash has already served his minimum sentence and should be immediately released on parole, a NSW Supreme Court judge has ordered.
He is expected to be deported to his home country of Iran, after applying to return to the country.
Justice Robert Allan Hulme on Friday sentenced Dadash, 28, to a maximum of 21 months for his part in the “particularly nasty” riot on April 20 last year. Dadash had pleaded guilty to affray over his part in the riot, which led to nine buildings at the centre being destroyed by fire.
The court heard Dadash was one of several detainees who protested on the centre’s roof, and he yelled “F*** you. F*** you up the a***. F*** immigration” at security officers before spraying a number of fire extinguishers at them.
“He (then) threw empty fire extinguishers either at the ground or at staff members and he was involved in stockpiling rubbish on the soccer field that was then set alight,” Justice Hulme said.
The judge accepted Dadash’s actions were not premeditated, he was not a leader in the riot and he did not take part in the burning of the buildings or the soccer pitch fire.
But he said Dadash at least “implicitly” encouraged the involvement of others.
“Many people would have been terrified by what occurred and their safety was put at risk,” Justice Hulme said. “They include members of staff, targeted because of their occupation, as well as other innocent detainees. Fortunately, no one was physically injured.”
The court heard Dadash fled Iran after he tore up a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and was transferred from Christmas Island to Villawood detention centre in July 2010.
He spent nearly a year in prison after the riot before being sent back to Villawood.
“Mr Dadash’s involvement in the events of 20 April 2011 was motivated by anger and frustration at having been held so long in immigration detention,” Justice Hulme said.