JAKARTA: Twenty-three Indonesian youths plan to sue Australia for illegal detention after being jailed in adult prisons for people-smuggling when they were minors, a child rights agency said yesterday.
Australian authorities detained the boys as adults between 2008 and 2011, following wrist X-ray tests to determine they were over 18 years old — a method which has been criticised by some experts as outdated and unreliable.
“The plaintiffs are looking for compensation and an apology from Australia so they can receive an education and live normal lives,” Indonesia’s National Commission for Child Protection deputy chief Apong Herlina said.
Indonesian lawyer Lisa Hiariej said she was also investigating claims by two of the plaintiffs that they had been sexually harassed by adult male prisoners in Sydney’s Silverwater jail.
Australia’s human rights commission reported last year that 180 Indonesians in Australia suspected of people-smuggling claimed to be minors, some of whom were repatriated.
But 48 boys — aged 14 to 17 — were jailed with adults based on the wrist test.