A BABY boy has been born to Sri Lankan asylum-seeker parents at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the birth two months ago highlighted concerns about the length of time detainees were being held.”It’s extremely sad this baby has been born essentially into captivity and is living in captivity,” she said yesterday. ”It’s a depressing place. There’s no doubt it is a jail.”A Department of Immigration spokeswoman confirmed the infant was living with his parents in residential accommodation at the centre.Opposition Leader Tony Abbott cut short a media conference outside Villawood yesterday after being heckled by the Refugee Action Committee. Earlier he denied suggestions his asylum-seeker policy was cruel, saying the Rudd government’s policy was not compassionate.”The cruellest thing you can do is put in place policies that encourage people smugglers to put desperate people’s lives at risk in leaky boats on the open sea,” he said.Legal experts say asylum seekers who develop mental illness in detention could seek compensation through the courts.Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre co-ordinator David Manne said there would be a case for seeking redress under Australian law if detainees could show their mental health had been damaged by time in immigration detention. ”If someone is subjected to conditions which are harmful … then there is no doubt they could seek redress under Australian law,” Mr Manne said.Australian Lawyers Alliance director Greg Barns said this would affect taxpayers. ”The detention of asylum seekers, particularly women and children, is not only legally dangerous for the Commonwealth but will cost taxpayers millions in claims,” he said.Ms Hanson-Young said the government was ignoring the ”human cost” of detention.”The only conclusion that can be drawn from the government’s dogged pursuit of a policy of suspended claims, desert prisons and indefinite detention is that it does not care about the emotional and psychological damage,” she said.But a spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Evans rejected the claim. ”People in immigration detention are treated fairly and humanely,” he said. ”They are provided with appropriate services.”