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Issue #1655      September 10, 2014

Justice for Hamid

“The death of Hamid Kehazaei, the 24 year-old Iranian asylum seeker whose life support system was turned off on Friday evening, is senseless and inexcusable,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“That a man could die in this way while supposedly in the care of the Immigration Department says everything about the lack of care on Manus Island.

“It is absurd for Scott Morrison to claim that asylum seekers who get ill on Manus Island get ‘outstanding care’. Hamid’s death speaks for the medical neglect, and to the culture of punishment, and indifference that pervades Manus Island.

“Like Reza Berati, Hamid is a victim of the offshore processing regime being run by the Coalition government. There are another 1,000 potential Hamids on Manus Island. Infections and skin disease are endemic in the detention centre. It is unhygienic, unsanitary and unsafe.

“All the detainees on Manus must be brought to the mainland. The many ex-Manus detainees already on the mainland for medical treatment must be allowed to stay.

“While we mourn for Hamid, we are determined to fight for justice and to continue to campaign to close Manus Island.”

Only hours before Hamid’s death, in Wickham Point detention centre, an Iranian asylum seeker reportedly swallowed razor blades and attempted to hang himself when threatened with being returned to Manus Island. This was the second time in three months that the Department of Immigration has tried to return him to Manus Island.

He is presently in a Darwin hospital.

He too was a victim of delayed medical treatment on Manus Island after suffering a stroke in December 2013 that resulted in the loss of sight in one eye. He also waited over four months for an appointment with a neurologist after being transferred to Darwin.

The tragic news of Hamid’s plight has fuelled growing opposition to off-shore processing. A petition calling for the closure of Manus Island has been growing at the rate of almost 1,000 signatures an hour in the 24 hours leading to Hamid’s death, and now has over 86,200 signatories.

Next article – Political Prisoner Liliany Obando – House arrest after six days on a hunger strike

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