HADI KURNIAWAN - one of 100 children in Australian adult prisons.

by Gerry Georgatos An impoverished Indonesian mother, in front of an Australian journalist, lies on a cement floor clutching a photograph of her 16 year old son who is now in an Australian adult prison and whom she hasn't seen since he was fourteen. Abject and acute poverty ravages Indonesia, a country where only 10% of the population has a refrigerator, where most people do not have electricity let alone a television, where many people live half lives working in sulphur mines and where most folk will never rise out of the shanty towns and villages they are born to die in.

Human rights abuses and injustices should be criticised, at all times, however it is difficult for Australia to criticise foreign justice systems and practices when Australia is no better. Australia has incarcerated at least 60 Indonesian youths, and possibly over 100, in Australian adult prisons. The state of Western Australia bears the brunt with 29 affirmed age disputes and possibly many more. The youths we are describing are some of our world's most impoverished children who for as little as $6.80 provided assistance to Asylum Seekers. These children assisted as cooks and deckhands in the safe passage of Asylum Seekers to Australian shores.

Australia's prescribed policy is to return those cooks and deckhands to Indonesia who are 18 years of age and under, and to charge as perceived people smugglers with the utilisation of sections 232 and 233 of the Migration Act those who are 19 years and above. One can only be remanded to an Australian adult prison if they are at least 19 years of age. Unfortunately for these cooks and deckhands, the Australian Commonwealth of Public Prosecutors has not heeded what 27 legal experts put to a Senate Estimates Inquiry some years back, and that was those who assist as cooks and deckhands cannot be charged under these sections and that indeed they are not people smugglers. However Prime Minister Julia Gillard, with a complete disregard of the law and international covenants, has taken the lead from former Prime Minister John Howard in fabricating a 'people smuggler model' that victimises the world's most impoverished folk who from a humanitarian perspective are merely cooks and deckhands assisting in the passage of Asylum Seekers - in other words our governments will unlawfully go after anyone.

The youngest son, and seventh child, of this anguished mother is Hadi Kurniawan, who was born on April 5, 1995, and who has been remanded to the maximum correctional facility of HAKEA in WA since February. I met Hadi at the Perth Airport Detention Centre in January. With a fellow refugee advocate, Victoria Martin-Iverson, I had been visiting people detained at this facility when we came across Hadi, sitting nervously on a small lounge, alone, urgently puffing on a cigarette. To both of us he looked awfully young. We spoke to him for about five minutes.

I have been visiting prisons for some six years, usually at the invitation of a prison official to talk to our incarcerated souls about educational pathways. Early last year while on such a visit within the prison's educational facility I came across an English language class of thereabouts a score of young Indonesians. I walked in and spoke with them. I learned that they were fishermen who had been found guilty of 'people smuggling'. I was appalled to learn that they had been lumped with mandatory five year sentences, to be served at Albany prison, to which they would soon be transferred to. All of them had only cooked or served as deckhands. They did not know that in assisting in the safe passage of our Asylum Seekers that they were doing something deemed wrong by then Prime Minister Rudd, and similary by incumbent Prime Minister Gillard and Coalition leader Mr Abbott and unfortunately by a majority of Australians. I thought to myself that some of them looked fourteen and fifteen years of age however at that time I had an investiture of faith and goodwill in the Australian justice system in that they would have ascertained their date of birth. I was wrong, and I now look back to them and wonder how many of them, like Hadi, are children.

During one of my February visits to HAKEA I learned that Hadi had been arrested by the Australian Federal Police and was at HAKEA. I could not fathom how he could be any older than sixteen. I arranged to visit him on March 17. Accompanying me on that visit was Nikola Leka, of the Refugee Action Coalition Newcastle. I had made a morning visit to a Sinhalese person on remand at HAKEA, also on perceived people smuggling charges, and his story is another tragedy in itself. Nikola and I were to visit Hadi straight after. For the first and only time in six years of visiting prisoners, officially and socially, I was pulled aside by HAKEA security and questioned for ten minutes as to the purpose of our visit with Hadi. I was stunned, however I answered all questions honestly. The Security Official told me that the instruction had come 'from above' and not from HAKEA superintendents. Later I would learn that these instructions came from the Department of Correctional Services Security and from the Justice Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Justice. We were allowed to proceed with the visit.

During the hour long visit Hadi told me that he was sixteen and that he had been in Australia since April 2010 when the boat of 30 Iraqi and Hazara Asylum Seekers waited at Ashmore Reef. He was barely fifteen at the time. The Royal Australian Navy took them to Christmas Island for a week before he was transferred to Darwin Immigration Centre, where he contracted Tuberculosis, however was detained for ten months till being flown to Perth, where I met him at the Airport Detention Centre, while he was being treated as an outpatient at Royal Perth Hospital.

The Australian Federal Police, guided by the Howard/Gillard 'people-smugglers model' wanted to charge him. They did not accept his date of birth, they did not notify Indonesian consular officials of his presence nor did they seek their assistance in determining Hadi's age, and they did not contact counterparts in Indonesia to affirm his age. Rather, they relied on a discredited 80-year-old medical procedure, a wrist-bone age scan, and a radiologist's interpretation, to insist on an age. This is part of the reason why there are possibly 100 of the world's most impoverished children in Australian adult prisons. Medical experts and other authorities the world over have slammed these tests, they are not fail-safe, and rather they are dodgy. They can be erroneous by five years and more! The criteria for determining age through these tests were originally aligned to well nourished American and Australian folk and not under nourished, and weathered Indonesian folk. The age test alleged that Hadi was born in 1991.

Hadi has never shifted from the claim that he was born in 1995. After he persistently affirmed to me that he was born in 1995, and I believed him wholeheartedly, even if I did not unequivocally know, I had a duty to disclose this to HAKEA authorities. The journey since has been one where we have had to grapple with a vacuum of inhumanity. Unbelievably, HAKEA Security blocked my visits, official and unofficial and not just to Hadi however to all prisoners. HAKEA Superintendents were horrified and reinstated my visiting rights, and I managed another visit with Hadi, however HAKEA Security blocked them again and instructed the Superintendents not to remove the 'block'. I went to every relevant authority while DCS Security claimed I was inadvertently flagged as part of an introduction of new protocols which have never been presented to me. They promised they would expedite the scrutiny however two weeks passed. In my belief, it was only when Jane Hammond, a journalist published an April 6 article in The West Australian about Hadi's plight that my visiting rights were reinstated. My visits were reinstated the same day! You don't get much out of parliamentarians, with their minimalist fodder, however it says it all when Federal Senator Louise Pratt wrote to me that she was appalled in that my visits were blocked and that she believed "it is political".

I could not leave this boy in an adult prison, a maximum security facility and to a pending five year sentence. Hadi told me he was 'scared' and told me he feared 'authority' and did not want to draw 'attention' to himself that would see him removed to another unit, away from his fellow Indonesians, or to another prison. He seemed to fear he would be removed from Unit 1 to either a Unit 4 or Unit 6. This theme of an excessive fear of authority has usurped the rights of Indonesians and Sinhalese who have been charged as perceived people smugglers, and it does not matter how many of us explain that they should not fear Australian authorities to the extent that they may fear Indonesian or Sri Lankan authorities.

Hadi told me he wanted to 'go to home'. In HAKEA Hadi was assigned to work in the laundry where traditionally those charged with sex offences and paedophilia work however he has since been relocated to kitchen work where he earns $30 per week and up to $48. I contacted the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra and they were quite concerned. Initially I worked with the Perth Indonesian Consulate, through the Vice Consul and they visited Hadi and they believed that he was born in 1995. I had the phone number of his older brother Heriyandi in Batam, Indonesia, and I had called him and Heriyandi, in his limited English, affirmed that Hadi was born in 1995. The Indonesian Consulate called the family and similarly gained this affirmation. In June, a barrister from Sydney, with whom I was liasing with would visit Hadi and similarly provide a transcript from his visit affirming his age and of other contact details to family in Indonesia. I went to every relevant authority, just about every relevant parliamentarian in this state and in Australia and none would adequately consider let alone represent Hadi's interests. No Australian parliamentarian or political leader would demonstrate the warranted moral leadership. I am appalled not only in the ALP and the Coalition and the Independents however and in the Greens.

I asked Hadi's Legal Aid lawyer to contact his family in Indonesia however he advised me that he was following Hadi's instructions and restricted comment to the argument of 'Privilege'. I spoke to the Commonwealth Prosecutor and described to her that the responsibility belonged to the Commonwealth to ascertain age beyond a reasonable doubt and to ensure they were presenting people before the appropriate jurisdictions. Silence.

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and Hadi, and others, continued to languish in adult prisons. I went to the state and federal governments and they said little and did nothing. I went to WA state Labor parliamentarians and they said to me to go the media. I went to federal Labor parliamentarians and they told me to go the Greens! I went to the federal Greens and as noted they did nothing. With the exception of WA Greens Alison Xamon asking several crafted questions in the state legislative assembly no parliamentarian demonstrated any moral leadership or other political conviction. None of the three major political parties were prepared to unveil Australia's racist layers and lead from the front. I have never been more disgusted by this exposition of immorality. How dare not a single Australian Senator, 76 of them, not raise a question about minors in adult prisons in the Senate? All three major political parties are more concerned about what the majority of the Australian population may perceive and therefore they are more concerned about 'votes' than they are in speaking the truth and in demonstrating the type of leadership that in effect would be educative and in part change public perceptions. This is not my experience alone, it is also the experience of barristers such as Mark Plunkett who defended the rights of one three Indonesian minors incarcerated at Brisbane's Arthur Gorrie Prison. Mark had to do as I did, he picked up the phone to Indonesia to begin the search for the truth. Thanks to Mark and his two colleagues the three boys, Ose Lani, Ako Lani and John Ndollu are now free. Queensland's Commonwealth prosecutors, without too much of an explanation, dropped the charges. This has set a precedent, and it is sad we have to rely on this precedent. I understand that the Commonwealth government wants these cases to quickly disappear so they are not exposed for their outrageous abuse and lies as the Coalition was with the Tampa lies. Gillard and Bowen, and the whole of the ALP, have not only breached Australia's commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, they have shattered it.

At this time there is an Indonesian delegation in Australia meeting with relevant Australian authorities pushing not only for Hadi's release however for the immediate release of all those with their age in question and for the implementation of appropriate age determination protocols and the commonsensical courtesty for Indonesian consular officials to be notified of the presence of their nationals on Australian territory. The Australian Federal Police advised me that no treaty exists between Australia and Indonesia that requires either country to notify the other of the presence of their nationals on each others shores. Such a treaty does exist between Australia and China, however do we require treaties to ensure this courtesy and the protection of a person's rights?

I made certain that Indonesian media became aware of Australia's human rights abuses towards Indonesian children - I contacted the Jakarta Post, Radio Elshinta, and Indonesian human rights advocates, and I was contacted by Eko Waluyo, and Indonesian human rights activist in Sydney who did likewise and more and contacted the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry.

When all appeared an uphill struggle, when every door shut I had no choice however but to risk all my relationships with journalists and editors. Along came Lindsay Murdoch, of The Age, and he highlighted the efforts of Mark Plunkett and then myself, and if it wasn't for Lindsay we would still be pushing the barrow up a steep uphill. Lindsay contacted Hadi's family through correspondents in Jakarta and for two weeks published article after article syndicated across the country. Subsequently I pushed West Australian media to pick up the baton and lead the way and for a couple of weeks they did. Thanks to The West Australian's Steve Pennells we were able to go further, and he flew to Indonesia to meet members of the family and secure hard copy evidence of Hadi's age. Indonesia's population is primarily poor and most of them do not have paperwork or any knowledge of how to access it. Steve met Hadi's brother Heriyandi and Hadi's mother Yusniar and eventually secured a police clearance for Hadi that included Hadi's date of birth. Steve applied for what is known as the 'family card' which further proves Hadi's age and we are waiting. Most folk in Indonesia do not have birth certificates however for purposes of the population census they are on a register and hence the family card and carte lingue. I had already known that Hadi had graduated Junior High, the equivalent of our Year 9, in 2009, which would have put him at 14 years of age. Hadi did not continue on with education, he was too poor and moved to Java to live a with a paternal relative while seeking work in construction. Three months later when the relative died Hadi had nowhere to go, and before he knew it he was on a boat as a cook keeping Asylum Seekers safe from dehydration and starvation during their passage to Australia. His family did not know he was on a boat to Australia and for more than a year they did not know what had happened to him. They feared the worst. They first heard from Hadi after he was arrested, charged and sent to HAKEA. Hadi worries about his mother and tries to assure his mum that he is looked after in prison. Steve Pennells would break a significant whole page story in the West Australian, Monday June 27, with a large photo of Hadi's mother holding her son's photo on page 3, and Hadi on the front page. On the Friday, concerned for Hadi's state of mind, I risked contacting HAKEA's superintendents, who for whatever reasons I reasonably trusted, and let them know on that on Monday Hadi would see his mother's photo in the newspaper and on television and that they should consider a prison support officer or counsellor for Hadi. They did.

As the Australian Prime Minister lacks the morality to en masse free these children, as neither do state and territory premiers and chiefs, it is still up to lawyers to ensure the release of these youths as was the case in Brisbane. We are waiting for Hadi's lawyer to initiate urgent bail proceedings - I have forwarded him the police clearance and a letter written by Hadi in Indonesian in front of the barrister from Sydney who visited Hadi while in Perth, and which describes Hadi's insistence in that he is sixteen and who subsequently describes the fears he has of repercussions. We expect that if there is an application for bail that the prosecution will do as occurred with the Brisbane three, charges will be dropped. This is the only way - Recently I managed to meet in person Julia Gillard, and as we shook hands, and as her smile went cold and as she was visually shaken, I reminded her that she is the Prime Minister of a country with 14, 15, 16, 17 years old in adult prisons and that she needs to remedy this - she hasn't. Chris Bowen has only recently begun to admit that there are minors in our prisons - "Yeah, look, the issue of minor crew - this is people who've been crew on boats that have come to Australia in an unauthorised fashion that are minors - is a difficult one. The Attorney-General and I have been working on it, we've also been talking to the Indonesian Government about it. It is obviously important that the law be able to take its place, but there are special circumstances when it comes to minors. I'm not going to comment on individual court cases - that would be inappropriate - other than to say the Attorney-General and I are very aware and alive to the complexities of the issue and we are continuing to progress how those issues should be dealt with." What do you say to that? In WA, I received a response from the state minister for Corrective Services, Terry Redman, who claims that he has to accept the evidence provided by the AFP, and that therefore there are no minors in our prisons! Not Gillard, Bowen or Redman understand that politics is a calling.

Hadi, Ako, Ose and John have become the young faces of Australia's most recent human rights abuse, its abuse of children - however we must remind ourselves there are at least 60 to 70 others and possibly more than 100 we need to shine the light upon and free. A couple of years ago a fourteen year Indonesian boy served twelve months in an Australian adult prison and was released only when the Magistrate sighted his certified Indonesian birth certificate, and currently we have several more cases before the courts, in Sydney, as Bankstown Prison has minors, and in Melbourne, and in Perth a writ, habeas corpus has been lodged in the Supreme Court in the case of Ali Jasmin whose lawyer is requiring the Commonwealth undertake the onus of the burden of proof in determining age beyond a reasonable doubt. This is what all lawyers should have done. Most of those charged are essentially railroaded by their lawyers and the justice system into prison sentences - they are rarely visited if ever, many see their lawyer for the first time in Court, and interpreters do the bare minimum. Legal Aid needs to stop representing these victims and admit that they do not have the resources to ensure these people are properly and honestly represented.

Many have contributed to Australia's present abuse of these children - the relevant authorities that could not pick up a phone and call either the Indonesian consulate or families in Indonesia, the lawyers who likewise could not pick up the phone and who under-represented their 'clients', the political parties and their parliamentarians who cowered rather than do their duty, and the Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration who are leaving racist legacies.

police statement of Hadi



The Sinhalese chaps who have spent more than a year charged with perceived people smuggling, and who one of them I have been visiting and trying to assist all three, have been released, they are free - all charges dropped - they are now in community detention, which is better than prison however all forms of mandatory detention should be done away with. They are now applying for their right to Asylum. Behind the scenes there is much happening however the government apparently doesn't have the honour to tell the Australian people of their mistakes and therefore their shame and are obviously just trying to slip by scrutiny of their actions. Anyway it a relief that they are free - their story too has been tragic. Gerry.



It is not appropriate Hadi Kurnawian, born April 5, 1995 continues to languish in Hakea Correction Facility. It is not appropriate that at least twenty nine others with their ages in dispute continue to languish in HAKEA and Albany Prisons. As a PHD LAW Researcher in Australian Deaths in Custody I am heavily concerned that if one were to meet an accident, illness, trauma induced death, or otherwise untimely manner of death in prison then we will have the inexcusable situation of a child death in prison custody, of a child dying in an adult prison. If we do not remedy the wrong of their continued presence in a wrongful jurisdiction we risk this eventuating.

I am pleased that Minister Terry Redman, after a volume of contact, is taking some steps to consider the predicament of Hadi Kurnawian.

I am asking Minister Terry Redman to lead the way in terms of moral and legal propriety and to seek the assistanc of the State Attorney-General Christian Porter, both as the State to challenge the Commonwealth, hence the ALP government - the evidence that the Commonwealth is relying on is inadequate. I have provided Hadi's Legal Aid lawyer with a copy of Hadi's police clearance which states Hadi was born on April 5, 1995 and with a copy of a letter Hadi wrote in front of a Barrister from Sydney whom I organised to visit Hadi on June 11, and in which Hadi states he has never shifted from his claim that he was born in 1995. I do not understand, neither do other lawyers, neither does the Sydney based Barrister, why Hadi's predicament has not been listed for a hearing so as to urge his release or to place the onus on the Commonwealth to ascertain his age beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have advice from a Barrister that the Indonesian police clearance which has Hadi's date of birth is adequate in itself to displace the presumption of evidence from the non-failsafe wrist bone age scan.

All along in these cases defence lawyers could have lodged a Writ, Habeas Corpus in the Supreme Court, asking the Commonwealth to undertaken onus, the burden, of ascertaining age beyond a reasonable doubt - and hence ensuring the appropriate jurisdiction that people are presented to.

We do not want to waste time in time consuming complaints through the Legal Society, through the WA Bar Association, through the CEO of Legal Aid, George Turnbull, through the CCC, however we will not dismiss these as eventual propriety, and rather we are asking for appropriate intervention.

I would like Minister Terry Redman and the State Attorney General Christian Porter to consider leading the way, as there at least 29 of the world's most impoverished folk, who could be children, their ages in dispute, on remand or incarcerated in HAKEA and Albany Prisons. With due propriety Terry and Christian as the State can challenge the Commonwealth, they can challenge the ALP government which is ultimately at fault for this mind boggling predicament, and they must take legal action against the Commonwealth and challenge the adequacy of the evidence they rely on. In the end Terry and Christian will be freeing children, righting wrongs inflicted by the Commonwealth and sorting a horrible mess created by the ALP government. The State can rely on various Justice/Youth/Prison Acts to guide them along the way, as these Acts guide their ministerial portfolios.

Hadi Kurnawian must be released. It is obscene he continues to languish in lieu of the evidence and the facts.

Gerry Georgatos

Hell yeah. You are one of a kind Gerry and I hope this boy will know the full extent of what you have done for him and all the others too. Carla.

You are a good man Gerry, not many like you that's for sure.

Jesus Christ!

This is bloody sad

Your contributions to this website Gerry have been eye opening.

HUMAN RIGHTS ALLIANCE MEDIA RELEASE July 24th 2011HADI KURNIAWAN - born in 1995, 16 years old, is still languishing in Australian Adult Prison - HAKEA PRISON, Western Australia In recent weeks three Sinhalese whom I campaigned for and visited while incarcerated in HAKEA Prison have been released after 15, 11, 10 months in prison.

Indonesian minors, aged 15 and 16, three of them, have been released from ARTHUR GORRIE Prison in Brisbane. Others in Brisbane and Melbourne have been bailed out. Lawyers representing another minor have served a writ in the Perth Supreme Court asking the Commonwealth to prove his age beyond reasonable doubt. Similarly in Sydney.

In lieu of the extensive and high profile media coverage that included journalists' investigations through Indonesia, visits to family in Indonesia, and in lieu of the widespread coverage by Steve Pennells of The West Australian newspaper for more than two weeks, and Steve securing an Indonesian Police clearance for Hadi with a date of birth in 1995, and prior to this newspaper articles syndicated across the country by The Age journalist Lindsay Murdoch who also had interpreters speak to the family, and also previous articles by Jane Hammond and Alana Buckley-Carr of The West Australian, and in lieu of the fact the Indonesian Consulate is involved and whom have visited Hadi, and the fact that Hadi's family, including his mother and sister have spoken with Australian journalists, with Australian and Indonesian media WHY IS HADI KURNAWIAN aged 16 still languishing in HAKEA Prison?


Barristers, and one whom has visited Hadi at my request, have explained to me that the evidence we have presented is more than adequate to displace the presumption of the evidence from the wrist bone age scan which is all the AFP and the Commonwealth Prosecutors have to rely on.

These Barristers do not understand why Hadi has not been released or out on Bail.

Why haven't Hadi's Legal Aid funded lawyers secured a Hearing to table this evidence or as has occurred with others have they not issued a writ, Habeas Corpus, in the Supreme Court to ask for the burden of proof of age to be ascertained beyond a reasonable doubt and that onus to be undertaken by the Commonwealth?

Why haven't the relevant State and Commonwealth Ministries and other various authorities stepped in with expectations to be worked towards to remove the likelihood that we have an under age person in our Adult Prisons? We may have as many as 100 minors in Australian Adult prison, some of the world's most impoverished children. Thus far no one released has been proven to have lied about the fact that they are only children! One child released, was 14, and he served 12 months! There is now a case before the Perth Courts where the children incarcerated could be 14, and would have been 13 when first incarcerated.

At the very least Hadi Kurnawian should be released on Bail pending appropriate age determination, and Hadi should be placed in the care of the Perth Indonesian Consulate. The Perth Indonesian Vice Consul has said to me that she too believes Hadi is 16.

We have asked Barrister Mark Plunkett, one of the lawyers who represented the ARTHUR GORRIE three and who secured an affidavit from a Village Chieftain that his client was only 16 years old to represent Hadi or to speak and assist to Hadi's lawyer. He has agreed and I understand that Hadi's lawyer has agreed.

Furthermore we are seeking to secure the consent of Hadi's mother for her son to be represented by for instance Mark Plunkett. Ironically because he is a minor a mother's consent is apparently adequate in securing such representation. What a ludicrous situation, what irony!


Kindly, Gerry Georgatos

They will earn more than $6.80 a day in a Australian prison they will get good food, TV, a roof over their head, they will have electricity, clean water, flushing toilet new clothes that will get washed, free medical and dental.I think we should punish them and send them back to Indonesia.

Don't forget free education and cigarettes

How dare you last two? Racism is alive alright... To people like Gerry I am very sad for everything they have to do for all the people that have no one else to depend on. Hopefully there really is karma.

This is an important story. I have read some of this in newspapers this year and heard of Gerry's work and the work of others in Brisbanee to free these kids but I think something is really wrong when the politicians have not spoken about thsi and the media has not run with this story big time. I don't understand why it is not front page news every day on why we have kids in jails and why the politicians are not being pulled into line, there should be resignations over this. What is wrong with this country? What is wrong with the media? Thank God for media like this site and thank God for the people who put this site together so we can learn of the rot like has happened to this poor boy and others like him.

I am disgusted. I will not vote for Labor, Liberals or the Greens. We need someone else. How could they have remained silent? How?

How abotu we protest everyday outside where he is kept prisoner till they releaase him? it seems that this may be the only way to free this boy.

Protests aren't going to work, youo won't get enough people to them or with the commitment of the Gerry types of the world. Problem is there aren't enough Gerrys amongst that's why this dude and his ratbag heart stands out. Sad about the rest of the majority.

Australia is in a bad way. Gillard and Abbott need to go. They parallel each other.

By the way good for you Gerry.


Family pleads to Australia PM to release 16-year-old boy

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 08/06/2011 8:00 AM
A | A | A |

The family of Hadi Kurniawan, a sailor detained in Perth, Australia, have appealed to the Australian government to release him.

In an email sent to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Hadi’s brother Heriyandi called for charges against Hadi to be dropped.

Heriyandi said his brother should also be released because he was only 16 years old.

Ali Akbar Tanjung from the NGO Human Rights Working Group said Australia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, under which children below the age of 18 could not face a legal process.

“Hadi is still a minor. He was born in 1995 and only graduated junior high a year ago. We ask the court in Australia to reconsider charging Hadi,” Heriyandi wrote Thursday.

Hadi’s ordeal began in early June 2010, when he and 54 asylum seekers from the Middle East departed from Indonesia to Australia by boat.

Ali said the boat was intercepted in Australian waters and that authorities believed Hadi was a people smuggler.

So far, attempts to rescue Hadi have been hindered by lost documents, which could prove he was a minor.

“All documents were lost during floods a year ago in Pekanbaru, Riau, which is Hadi’s hometown,” Ali said.

So far, he said, the Australian government had detained 500 sailors, of whom an estimated 60 to 70 were minors. He said he was disappointed by the lack of support from the
Indonesian embassy in Canberra.

“They succeeded in securing the release of three Indonesian boys from East Nusa Tenggara’s Rote Island. But now the embassy is doing nothing for other minors behind bars,” Ali said.

Last week, a Brisbane court acquitted three Indonesian boys who were arrested for being on a boat carrying asylum seekers. The boys are Ose Lani, 15, Ako Lani, 16, and John Ndollu, 17.

Ray Marcelo, the spokesman of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, said Australian law enforcement authorities investigated all persons suspected of being involved in people smuggling, including minors.

“Minors are almost always sent home,” he said.

Ray said Australia had implemented new processes to determine the age of Indonesian youth suspected to be involved in people smuggling.

“The benefit of the doubt will be given in favor of people thought to be minors and they will be sent home,” he said.

He did not comment on Hadi’s case, saying the embassy could not comment on specific cases of individuals who may have been charged with people smuggling-related offenses.

Just shameful that no Aussie politician is speaking up! Just shameful that children are in adult jails! Just shameful that Hadi is still in jail after all your good work Gerry! Gerry you should be nominated for Australian of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year, win every honour available, you should be knighted by the Queen, the work you do for people is just amazing and I for one respect you dearly. Just shameful our government and pollies are not even worth half your little finger. What will it take to free this boy? Sue.

This is an incredible story. You and Hadi's story should be on 4Corners. Once again you must be the pride of your family and those that you know. What an example of perseverance you are.

There should be a massive protest and vigil outside this prison till the kid is released. And like everyone here has said good for you Gerry.

In reference to Australia's continued human rights abuses and its indictment on the world stage as Australia plays out its racism and prejudices through its unique Mandatory Detention of Asylum Seekers, with at least 24 major Detention Centres, an Australian Senate committee has requested various data. The following are the minimal numbers affirmed to the Australian Senate upon preliminary statistical investigation - the numbers are in fact much higher and the truths layered by a heap of inadequate training, a lack of expertise, by poor and dubious reporting mechanisms, by bureaucratic bungling, by various prejudices and discrimination, by many veils of racism and finally clouded by the clandestine.

* 1507 detainees hospitalised in the first 6 months of this year

* 213 injuries from self-harm

* 723 treated for 'voluntary starvation'

* 620 self harm cases on Xmas island alone

* 301 days - average processing time for Afghans

There have been six Detention Centre Deaths in the last ten months, five by suicide, there have been more than 1,000 suicide attempts, thousands of self harms, hundreds of folk who have collapsed from starvation, thousands who have gone on hunger strikes and protests. People, if they survive the Australian Detention Centre experience, are leaving Detention worse than came in. Some of the poor folk deported back to Afghanistan or Sri Lanka have been found dead, killed. As the Hazara peoples often state, they have no country to return to, they are persecuted by everyone, by the Taliban, by the Pashtun, and they are not protected by the Afghani Government, and our Government should stop telling them what it is like in Afghanistan. They know what it is like for a Hazara, that's why they fled.

Curtin Detention Centre in the north west remote of Western Australia, near the town of Derby, is nearing an en masse protest or en masse hunger strike. Last night two hunger strikers, who have been starving themselves since August 5, collapsed and they were transported by Ambulance for urgent medical assistance - I am sure that the Curtin Detention Centre and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have not reported these events to the media. Recently, Hazara peoples exasperated by their experiences in the Curtin Detention Centre, a concentration like camp where there has been a suicide of a 20 year old, and many suicide and multiple suicide attempts, collectively wrote a letter of their maltreatment in Curtin, some have been detained for 2 years, and of the reasons they left Afghanistan, namely that they were stateless in their homelands, that they were persecuted and despised on ethnic and racial grounds.

Australia has little right to criticise other countries for perceived human rights abuses when Australia abuses human rights - Australia incarcerates impoverished Indonesian children in adult prisons and disrespects Indonesia in that it fails to notify Indonesian consular officials, Australia incarcerates thousands of the world's most vulnerable peoples, refugees fleeing abject and acute persecution, and all the while Australia continues to deprive and dispossess its Aboriginal brothers and sisters. Australia continues to languish in a hostile denial of its evident racist identity.

Gerry Georgatos
Convener, Human Rights Alliance
PhD Law researcher, Australian Deaths in Custody
Western Australia

It is just disgusting that this situation continues with Hadi. How can Australia ever hold its head up other than through lies when history looks back on this period? How?

Go to facebook and look up this site called Free Impoverished Indonesian Children from Australian Adult Prisons.

Gerry just doesn't stop. Without people like him these kids would be fucked.

What is wrong here, what are we missing? These are children! Why is Gerry just about the only person in Australia persistently speaking out? Where are the fucked up Greens, where are the human rights organisations? Where are other pollies and big shots, the celebrities, why is it pretty much just Gerry? What the fuck!

Get out here man!? Is this for real yeah?

What planet are we on? Planet yesterday? Release these kids man!

I still can't believe all this! I think it is so bloody evil.

A machine I say, you are fantastic in what you do. I wish the Greens had never fucked you over and let go of you, you should be in parliament, you would be a great Immigration spokesman or human rights campaigner which you already are but parliament needs you, you would be great for Aboriginal people. You would be great period, fuck politics would be something never to forget if you got there, mate Australia would never forget someone like you, you'd be the template, the bloody mould for those following, you are an angel heaven sent but trapped unfortunately. I say Gerry for Prime Minister. Your work is supreme and I bow down to you.

Gerry, how long do you think before Hadi and the others are released?

If this is true in any way,shape or form, it needs to be campaigned against. Its an extremely risky situation for kids being among adult criminals. Criminals can do anything if you know what I mean? How could prison officers be so irresponsible?