- Update : Video of rally held in Melbourne, with indigenous speakers from Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and West Papua. Lex was sentenced to six years in prison.
Free Lex Wotton rally : Solidarity on Wurundjeri land
Friday, November 7, 2008
Melbourne County Court
Cnr of William & Lonsdale Streets
Brought to you by Camp Sovereignty.
- Robbie Thorpe (Krautungalung, Gunnai Nation)
Shiralee Hood (Nyoongar, Kurnai Nation)
International Indigenous Solidarity
Marcelo Chimbolema (executive member of CONAIE, Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador / Indigenous Council of Ecuador)
Marisol Salinas (Mapuche Nation)
Eduarado Issa Flores (National Coalition for the Defense of Workers’ Organisations, Water, Basic Services, Environment and Life, Bolivia)
Sina Brown (Aotearoa Te Ata Tino Toa)
Liz Thompson (Free Lex Wotton NOW)
Note that this rally is part of an ‘International Day of Action’ called by Lex’s family members, and coincides with the day that Lex Wotton is scheduled to have a sentence hearing in Townsville (Queensland); the rally is in support of Lex and is also intended to be a celebration of Aboriginal sovereignty. Those attending are requested to bring banners and placards in support of Lex, but not stalls.
For more information : freelexwotton[at]gmail[dot]com : Facebook
[In Sydney : Rally outside the Sydney District Court, Downing Centre, 143-147 Liverpool St (cnr Elizabeth St), City, 1pm, November 7.]
Mr Wotton is facing a sentence of up to life in prison. He has been remanded in custody to reappear in Townsville District Court on November 7 before Judge Michael Shanahan.
The verdict was met initially with silence from Mr Wotton’s friends and family, who have been in court every day during the three-week trial. But as the reality began to sink in, his mother, Agnes, cried out ‘No justice’ as Correctional Services officers led Mr Wotton into the rear of the courthouse.
His wife Cecelia, and his children, were assisted from the courtroom by friends. They sobbed outside as a crowd of around 20 supporters looked on in stunned silence.
Later, the group braved the media scrum waiting outside the courtroom. Cecelia had to be assisted into a taxi, unable to speak and barely able to walk.
Mr Wotton was charged after the November 2004 uprising on Palm Island, in which a police station, adjoining courthouse, a police residence and a vehicle were destroyed by fire.
The uprising occurred after the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee, a 36-year-old Palm Island man who had been arrested for public nuisance by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, the officer-in-charge of the Palm Island police station.
Within an hour of his arrest, Mulrunji lay dead on the floor of a police cell, a victim of massive internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen, four broken ribs and a liver that had been ‘almost cleaved in two’ from a huge compressive force.
A subsequent coronial inquest found that Snr Sgt Hurley was responsible for the death. It also uncovered numerous breaches of procedures by Queensland Police in the ensuing investigation.
The community erupted on November 26 – a week to the day after the death – after they were told at a town meeting that a pathologist’s report had found Mulrunji’s death was an accident.
After several years of fully paid leave while awaiting trial on manslaughter charges (of which he was acquitted) Snr Sgt Hurley has since received a promotion, and is now an Inspector of police working on the Gold Coast.
He received a $100,000 compensation payout from the Queensland Government for property lost in the fire, and his legal bills were covered by the Queensland Police Union and via fundraising efforts by QPS members.