Kurdish refugee dead on Christmas Island: another victim of long term detention

It is believed that an Iranian Kurdish refugee, Fazel Chegeni, has died on Christmas Island.

Fezal2The man, in his early 30s, escaped from the North West Point detention centre 48 hours ago – on Friday 6 November. Detainees had reported that Fazel was missing on Friday.

Detainees in the centre report that police brought the man’s body to the detention centre around 9.00am Christmas Island time, this morning, Sunday 8 November.

The circumstances of his death are not known. But there was a resident woken around 4.00am this morning at a house in the Settlement area and the man disappeared down a track known as “The Incline”. But it is not known whether this incident is related to Fazel at all.

Fazel arrived in Australia in 2010. He had been found to be a refugee when he was in Curtin detention centre, around two and half years ago. He was unfairly charged with assault following a fight between detainees at the detention centre. He was later released into the community in Melbourne for a few months but was re-detained in Melbourne even though he was given a good behaviour bond for the assault charge.

IMG-20151108-WA0006He had been in Christmas Island detention for around 10 weeks after being transferred from Wickham Point, Darwin. He had recently been invited by the Minister to make another protection visa application.

Christmas Island detention centre has been locked down since this morning.

At a meeting late this afternoon, detainees were told that Fazel’s body was found ‘in the jungle’ and that he had been dead ‘for some time’.

Like so many others, Fazel was suffering the effects of long-term, arbitrary detention. Fazel has attempted suicide when he was in Melbourne; again when he was in Brisbane, and then again in Wickham Point not long before he was transferred to Christmas Island.

He had told other detainees that he could no longer stand being in detention and just wanted ‘to go outside.’

“This is another needless detention death,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “This time of a refugee who should never have been in detention. His mental health problems were well known. Detention could only exacerbate those problems.

“The delay in processing and releasing him is inexcusable. He is a victim of the punitive regime detention regime that cares nothing for the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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