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Refugees riot, ransack and burn up the place.

Refugees confined by Australia on the remote island of Nauru rioted Friday and burned almost the entire camp where they are housed, putting themselves into tents--except for those arrested and jailed.

Most of the 545 people confined on Nauru--an independent island nation of 10,000 people--are understood to be Iranians. But it isn't known how many Iranians are among the 152 detained for riot and arson. The island judge said the identification papers for the detainees burned up in the riot and the identities of those arrested and awaiting charges are not yet known.

Under Nauru's harsh criminal code, anyone found guilty of arson can be jailed for life.

The detainees had been protesting for days over the slow processing of their asylum appeals. They then erupted in a riot Friday and burned down every building in the detention center--including brand new dormitories--except for the kitchen and recreation center.

Local news reports said guards at the detention center were overwhelmed and local police came in to help and then called on the citizenry to mass and help suppress the riot, which lasted four hours.

The purpose of the riot was unclear. The detainees could not escape from a tiny mid-Pacific island that is only six times the size of New York's Central Park and the riot charges will kill any change any of those arrested had of winning asylum.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:8NAUR
Date:Jul 26, 2013
Words:229
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