Christmas Island rioters face criminal charges

Detainees who caused over $1 million worth of damage during a riot at the Christmas Island detention centre could be hit with criminal charges.

The unrest was sparked by a small group of Iranian detainees who were staging a protest over the death of escapee Fazel Chegeni Najad on Sunday.

Riot police stormed the centre yesterday after others starting to join the riot, setting small fires around the complex, building barricades and threatening to use weapons.


Five detainees are believed to have suffered minor lacerations and injuries in the scuffles.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that the vast majority of detainees were “hardened” criminals including rapists and murderers, adding a significant number of them were from New Zealand.

He said those who damaged commonwealth property would be prosecuted once identified.

That could also include any asylum seekers who took part and potentially harm their chances of being grated visas.

The detainees who have already been convicted are either awaiting deportation or appealing.