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Issue #1696      August 5, 2015

Lock down after asylum seeker death

Yongah Hill detention centre is in lockdown, and Serco’s riot squad has been mobilised following the death of a 27 year-old Afghan asylum seeker at around 9pm last Friday night.

While the cause of death is still unclear, the man’s body was taken from the detention centre by Western Australian police in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The death has highlighted the neglect and lack of medical care in the detention centre. The man had asked for medical help for the last two days, but typically had only been given Panadol. There is not even a nurse on duty after 5pm weekdays.

Other detainees have complained that Serco guards took too long to call an ambulance; “They watched and let him die,” one asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition.

It is believed that the man had slashed himself earlier on Friday and should have been on suicide watch, which would mean regular observations by Serco guards.

A disturbance broke out following the death when one of the Serco guards was heard to say, “one less for us to look after’.

“This is another death in detention that lies at the feet of the Immigration Minister and the neglect that characterises the detention regime. The man should never have been in detention,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “There is no excuse for keeping someone in detention for three years. If he had been in the community, he would more likely still be alive.”

Next article – Union busting through automation – MUA takes on port operator Hutchinson

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