Australia’s “Abu Ghraib”-Like Torture of Jailed Children Captured in “Chilling” TV Footage

From Common Dreams:

The documentary showed guards strapping a hood over the head of a 17-year-old detainee before shackling him to a chair for hours. (Screenshot: “Four Corners”/YouTube)

Footage from an ABC investigation revealed juvenile detention center guards in Australia’s Northern Territory shackling, hooding, taunting, and teargassing detained children—as well as leaving them in solitary confinement for extended periods of time.

Such abuse of children “may amount to torture by the government responsible for their care.”
—UNICEF Australia
The haunting footage that aired Monday on the investigative program “Four Corners” provoked comparisons to the U.S. military’s illegal torture of detainees in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, scandalizing human rights observers in Australia and worldwide.

Australia’s Indigenous Affairs minister, Nigel Scullion, characterized the TV documentary as “some of the most disturbing footage I have ever seen.” He added: “And it beggars belief that the people that we put in charge of [caring] for vulnerable children in detention and[…] looking after their welfare were in fact brutalizing those children.”

In one segment that has garnered particular outrage, 17-year-old Dylan Voller was shown being hooded and shackled to a chair, where he was left in solitary confinement for hours:

#4Corners: This is the chilling footage of Dylan Voller shackled into the mechanical chair for almost two hours https://t.co/RkkO7WF2kK

Voller and five other former inmates are now suing the Northern Territory government over their treatment while detained, according to the Guardian.

The ABC footage, in addition to documenting widespread abuses, also contradicted guards’ prior testimony at several points. The Independent reports:

When six children were tear gassed at Don Dale in August 2014, government representatives said guards were forced to restrain them as they staged a riot and attempted to escape.

But CCTV and videos taken by staff showed that only one boy had left his cell and …

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