April 7: Three asylum seekers who wanted their plight noticed by the United Nations have been jailed for their part in a fire and riot at Villawood detention centre that caused $9 million of damage.
In sentencing the men, Justice Robert Hulme took into account their depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Two of the men had witnessed multiple suicides while in detention, the NSW Supreme Court heard.
The men, who are of Hazara and Kurdish ethnicity, received sentences of between 15 and 18 months after pleading guilty to the charge of affray, after climbing on to the roof of the detention centre in April 2011. Some protesters threw tiles from the roof.
The men, whom Fairfax Media has chosen not to identify, are all in their 20s and came by boat to Christmas Island in 2010 and 2011.
The men had received multiple rejections for visas. According to a psychologist’s report, they had mental health problems as a consequence of prolonged detention and previous experiences.
Taking into account their time previously spent in custody without bail, the men are to be released on September 10, October 14 and November 5, after they have served the non-parole periods of their sentences. Time spent in immigration detention was not taken into account.
Trials continue for others accused, who have pleaded not guilty.