NT paperless arrest petition reaches 12,000 signatures

NT residents are petitioning against the paperless arrest scheme after it was declared to cause more Aboriginal deaths in custody.

An Amnesty International petition calling for the repeal of NT’s paperless arrests scheme has now reached 12,000 signatures. 

The laws, which came into force in December, allow police to hold people without charge for up to four hours, without paperwork that would otherwise be required.

According to reports by the ABC, NT coroner Greg Cavanagh found back in August that the laws would result in more Aboriginal deaths in custody.  Attorney-General John Elferink rejected the findings and would not repeal the scheme, the legality of which is now being determined by the High Court of Australia.

The petition was due to be delivered to Elferink yesterday, but he did not respond to Amnesty International’s calls.

“We haven't got a response on this particular issue from Minister Elferink at this stage, but certainly we hope that he'll take on board the concerns of those 12,000 people,” said Amnesty Indigenous rights campaigner Julian Cleary.

“They need to go and in the meantime we call on the police to stop using those powers,” Cleary told the ABC, adding that he thinks the laws are having a detrimental effect on the Northern Territory.

“It's disheartening but we hope as an organisation, and the 12,000 people that have signed the petition, hope that he will reconsider that,” he said.

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