Asylum seeker cannot be left to die of hunger

January 13, 2015

It is feared that a 33 year old Iranian  asylum seeker on hunger strike may have only days to live.

Refugee activists have launched an appeal to Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton and Assistant Minister, Michaelia Cash, to urgently act to prevent his death.

The hunger striker, known as “Martin’ was on hunger strike for 53 days until 21 December last year. He resumed the hunger strike on 27 December, and has entered a critical stage of the hunger strike. He may have already suffered permanent organ damage.

He is presently in hospital suffering from cellulitis, ironically the infection that ultimately took the life of another Iranian asylum seeker on Manus Island, Hamid Khazaie in September last year.

Martin is one of around 35 Iranian asylum seekers in Wickham Point detention centre who have been re-detained since August with a view to removing them to Iran. Martin had been living in the community with a bridging visa for two years prior to being re-detained in August.

However, the government knows that the Iranian government will not accept the forced removal of asylum seekers. Faced with indefinite detention, Martin began his hunger strike in November to draw attention to the plight of Iranian and other asylum seekers in this situation. There are around 1400 asylum seekers presently in the community who are at risk of being re-detained although the government cannot remove them.

“Martin and the other asylum seekers are victims of a cruel, domestic political agenda. The re-detention of asylum seekers who cannot be removed is a completely pointless policy,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “Martin’s fate is literally in the hands of the Minister. We are appealing for the Minister to urgently act to release Martin and save his life.

“An act of compassion to release Martin would cost the government nothing. We wait in hope, but Martin may have only days to live.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
www.refugeeaction.org.au

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