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Injustice to Ali Jasmin is grounds for pardon and audit of similar cases involving children

Revelations by The Project that Australian authorities had the birth certificate of an Indonesian boy but ignored it before he was later jailed alongside dangerous adult offenders shows why there must be an audit into similar cases, the Greens said today.

"I'm appalled that this vital document was not given any consideration in determining his age or presented to a court after he was charged with people smuggling," Greens' immigration and youth affairs spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"Jasmin should be immediately pardoned because he never should have been charged as an adult and convicted in the first place and then jailed alongside adults. Australian authorities did not believe he was a child and didn't bother acting on details that proved it.

"Jasmin was denied the care that should be expected of any child who is caught up in legal proceedings. It is clear that in this instance, the Commonwealth agencies and departments have failed to act in the best interests of the child and failed their duty of care.

"The Greens tonight call on the federal Attorney-General to commission an audit of all similar convictions since September 2008 where the ages of asylum seeker boat crew have been in doubt.

"We know at least 25 people since then have been convicted by Australian courts even though they told authorities they were children.

"There have been at least five instances where Indonesian children have been detained for hundreds of days without charge and then put in custody for hundreds more before Australian courts found they were children.

"A recent inquiry into my private senator's bill, currently before parliament, proved no clear procedures exist for Commonwealth authorities to follow when a person's age is in doubt or they do not believe boat crew who say they are children.

"My Fairness for Minors bill sets out criteria for officials to follow and puts time limits on when a person must be charged with a people smuggling offence, to allow legal assistance to be provided much sooner.

"My bill also bans the use of wrist x-rays in the age determination process. This practice is illegal in many European countries and has been discredited by numerous medical and sporting bodies in Australia and overseas.

"The bill also puts the onus on Australian authorities to prove that someone is an adult before they're put in an adult prison.

"Australians would rightly not tolerate the appalling treatment given to Ali Jasmin if it happened to an Australian teenager in Indonesia or anywhere else. It's time we stopped doing it to Indonesian children."

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