The Commonwealth of Australia is taken to court

Dear Prime Minister,

Was it coincidence that the detainees on Manus Island have had all access to computers removed at the very time when the court case in which they are plaintiffs is about to be live-streamed?

A class action seeking damages for people detained at the Manus Island immigration detention centre will begin this week.

Fifty current and former Manus Island detainees, including 41 people who remain in Papua New Guinea, will give evidence as part of Australia’s largest trial concerning immigration detention.

The six-month trial was scheduled to start in the Victorian Supreme Court on Monday, but a judge granted a request by all parties to delay it until Wednesday.

The 1905 class action group members are seeking compensation for alleged physical and psychological injuries they argue they suffered as a result of the conditions in which they were held on Manus Island.

The current and former detainees want additional damages for false imprisonment after the PNG Supreme Court ruled the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island was unconstitutional.

The Australian government and the companies that have managed the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, G4S Australia and Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield Services), deny the claims.

The judge-only trial will hear from 41 current or former Manus Island detainees who remain in Papua New Guinea, as well as 11 former Manus detainees who are currently being held in some form of detention in Australia.

This court case is expected to take six months. Any person not directly involved in the case will be able to watch it, live. Do you admire the bravery of the refugees who are prepared to be witnesses, to endure hostile questions, while they struggle to survive in detention?