The two asylum seekers charged with assaults on Serco guards in the NIDC in 2011 have been found not guilty of throwing rocks at the officers. Abdul Basir was also found not guilty of biting a Serco guard, after successfully arguing self-defense. Habibrahman was found guilty of punching an officer and will be sentenced on Monday. The verdict was handed down this morning by Magistrate John Loundes.

The two Burmese detainees were charged with offences alleged to have occurred after a peaceful rooftop protest on the detention centre in August 2011.

In defending the charge of biting a Serco officer Mr Abdul Basir argued that he was acting in self-defense. In giving his decision Dr Loundes said that the the prosecution had failed to negative self-defense and the court could not be satisfied that the defendant was not acting defensively. He said the defendant’s action in biting the guard was proportionate to the amount of force being used against him at the time.

DASSAN spokesperson Fernanda Dahlstrom said, “The verdict is a huge relief to Basir, who was visibly emotional as it was announced this morning. His chief concern throughout this ordeal has been for the welfare of his wife and child in Indonesia. Now that these charges have been dismissed he is likely to be released from detention very soon.

“The two men remained in immigration detention throughout these court proceedings despite being on bail in relation to the charges. They both have refugee status and were ASIO cleared back in November. The charges have meant they have spent a lot longer in detention than they would have otherwise.

“The men made reports to the AFP that they were assaulted by Serco officers back in August 2011 and the AFP has admitted not investigating these complaints. Throughout the fifteen day hearing, prosecution did not call a single detainee to give evidence of what he saw on the day of the incident, despite its being witnessed by dozens of other detainees.

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“This case is just another example of the shame that the mandatory detention system brings to Australia.”

For comment, call Fernanda Dahlstrom 0415184856

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