Asylum seeker torture report: UN responds to Tony Abbott’s criticism

UN reply

Mr Mendez is a human rights lawyer who survived torture under Argentina’s military junta in the 1970s.

In 1975 he was blindfolded and shoved in a car and taken for nearly three days of questioning by Argentinian intelligence officials. Interrogators gave him electric shocks and at one point put a gun in his mouth to try to force him to reveal information about his work and associates.

The report also found that recent changes to the Maritime Powers Act to give the government the power to detain asylum seekers at sea and return them violated the convention.

“I think people who are detained in the high seas and subject to prolonged detention on the basis of their status and not given a fair opportunity to make their case that they should not be sent back to a country where they might face torture,” Mr Mendez said on Tuesday.

“I think it is my duty to tell Australia that, at least in that respect and in respect of keeping children in detention, that policy needs to be corrected.”

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