REMOTE DETENTION KILLS DETAINEE. REFUGEE GROUP CALLS FOR FULL INQUIRY
Media Release, August 23 2010
Refugee groups have been shocked by the news of the sudden death of a 30 year-old Afghan asylum seeker.
The man who is reported to have suffered a heart attack was taken to Derby before being flown to Perth where he died on Sunday afternoon – 24 hours after he was found unconscious in Curtin.
“This man’s death raises yet more questions about remote detention centres. It seems highly likely that if this man had been living in the community, the medical services to treat any medical condition and the emergency services needed to save his life may have been available for him.
“The management at Curtin must have known that there was no intensive care facilities available at Derby. Why was he not flown directly to Perth or more obviously to Darwin, which is only half the distance? Did the delay in obtaining emergency treatment cost this man’s life?” asked Ian Rintoul, a spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“We want to see a full inquiry into this man’s death and all the circumstances surrounding it. The public needs to know whether he was getting the treatment he needed in Curtin detention centre.
“If the immigration department knew he had a previous condition, why was he being kept in Curtin detention centre at all? Are there proper facilities to deal with medical emergencies for children or pregnant women in Leonora?
“Detention centres have already recognised as factories of mental illness. An inquiry may well reveal they are in fact lethal. We want to see a complete medical audit of all the detention centres,” said Rintoul.
“This is not the first time that the lack of medical treatment or inadequate diagnosis has cost detainees their lives. A 26-year old asylum seeker with no known physical and mental problems died on Nauru in 2002. In 2003, Fatima Erfani, a 28-year old Afghan mother of three, detained on Christmas Island also died of medical neglect after being transferred to Perth, after complaining for days of headaches.
“Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard’s proposals for off-shore detention centres in Nauru, East Timor or elsewhere are a recipe for more such deaths. Christmas Island, Curtin, Leonora – all the detention centres should be closed.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul, 0417 275 713