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Tunnel Found At Western Australia Detention Centre

A 20-meter long escape tunnel has been found at an immigration detention center northeast of Perth, activists say.

PERTH, Australia — A 20-meter-long escape tunnel has been found at an immigration center northeast of Perth, activists say.

The tunnel, which was also three meters high, was discovered on May 10 around 10 am at the Yongah Hill detention center in Western Australia.

Activists from the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) say it is unclear what tools were used in the making of the tunnel but it’s believed to have been constructed over a three-month period. The tunnel, around three meters deep and 20 meters long, led from beneath the floor of room 6F in one of the accommodation blocks in Falcon compound (see photo), beyond the two inner fences to within five meters of the outer perimeter fence, and freedom.

The coalition tweeted “Escape tunnel to the freedom found in Yongah Hill detention center.”

They also say the tunnel is estimated to have cleared the two inner fences of the detention center to within five meters of the outer perimeter fence.

“Bits of roofing or bits of pipe, things like that, have been used for similar things in the past,” a spokesperson said.

As per the statement released by the coalition the tunnel, around three meters deep and 20 meters long, led from beneath the floor of room 6F in one of the accommodation blocks in Falcon compound (see photo), beyond the two inner fences to within five meters of the outer perimeter fence, and freedom.

The Coalition spokesperson added that the tunnel was found beneath the floor of room 6F which was that of a man who’s considered a ‘501’.

“They’re called 501’s because they’re canceled under that section of the Migration Act,” the coalition said.

“I understand the police were called yesterday, but I don’t know that he’s been arrested or charged.”

The tunnel is estimated to have cleared the two inner fences of the detention center to within five meters of the outer perimeter fence. (Cortlan Bennett/AAP Image)

It is almost 20 years since 23 asylum seekers escaped by tunneling out of the Villawood detention center in Sydney on July 19, 2001.

“The systematic abuse of long-term detention is hidden behind the fences of Australia’s detention regime. With almost none of the oversight that applies to prisoners of the judicial system, asylum seekers are systematically being deprived of their liberty and mental health. Inside the detention centers, Serco and Border Force are a law unto themselves,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“The government, for example, is vindictively holding Iranian asylum seekers for years, even though it knows that they cannot be returned to Iran. Indefinite detention is pointless and destructive. Visa cancellation powers allow asylum seekers and refugees to be punished twice, first by the judicial system and then by immigration detention.

“Detention is the real crime. People are entitled to resist human rights abuse.”

The department of immigration has been contacted for comment.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Praveen Pramod Tewari. Map by Urvashi Makwana)

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