Australian aboriginal mother to take her son’s ‘death in custody’ case to UN | The Daily Star
04:31 PM, June 10, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:34 PM, June 10, 2021

Australian aboriginal mother to take her son’s ‘death in custody’ case to UN

Leetona Dungay, and a team of high-profile lawyers, will take a claim over her son's death in custody to the United Nations, reports the BBC.

David Dungay Jr, an Australian aboriginal man, died in a Sydney cell in 2015 after five officers restrained him in prison.

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"The UN needs to know that there is a crisis in this country," said Leetona Dungay. While aboriginal people don't die at a greater rate in custody, it is widely believed that they are vastly overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Aboriginal people in Australia have the highest rate of incarceration.

According to the BBC, at least 474 indigenous people have died in custody in Australia since 1991. Leetona's legal team seeks to put pressure on the government over its record on indigenous deaths in custody.

David Dungay died in a Sydney prison after officers restrained him "to stop him from eating biscuits"..

A video shown during a legal inquiry captured David's final moments where he yelled "I can't breathe" repeatedly with laboured breathing, before losing consciousness. No one was held accountable for David Dungay's death.

Leetona Dungay said, "The government and the prison had a duty of care to keep David safe, with people who were trained properly to keep him alive. The system failed, and David lost his life because of that failure. My son had the right to live."

As no people or organisation was held accountable for her son's death, Leetona and the legal team of advocates are taking the fight to the international stage to "shame" the Australian government into action.

"So many Indigenous people have died in custody, but not one police officer or prison guard has been held accountable or faced consequences," Leetona said.

This will be one of the first cases of an Indigenous death in custody in Australia to be brought to the United Nations.

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