Two days before her son took his own life on Nauru, Fazileh Mansour Beigi’s final plea for help carried with it a warning too.
For months inside the Australian-run regional processing centre, Mansour Beigi had begged for help for her sons, whom she had watched deteriorate over five years in immigration detention. To anyone she could, she wrote letter after letter, pleading for someone to intervene.
On 13th June, two days before her eldest son, Fariborz, killed himself inside his tent, she wrote a final letter to Canstruct International, the Brisbane Company that runs the processing centre under contract from the Australian government:
“Due to repetitive darkness of this life, my kids are depressed,” Mansour Beigi wrote in Persian. “I also am emotionally and physically in a fatal stage of my life. Many times, I have asked for your help, but, instead of assisting me, each time you have wounded me more.”
26-year-old Fariborz Karami was a Kurdish Iranian asylum seeker who had been held on Nauru for five years. While his claim for protection had been initially rejected, he had recently married, and he appeared to be making plans for a future, however unlit that future was.
He had a history of torture and trauma in Iran – having reportedly been kidnapped and threatened with execution as a 10-year-old child – and he slept poorly, plagued by nightmares. He battled depression for years, exacerbated, doctors wrote in medical reports, by his continued detention and the uncertainty over his future.
His 12-year-old brother, Ali, publicly pleaded for help for his older brother and his mother, who had been promised a medical transfer to Taiwan before it was cancelled at the last minute.
“I feel helpless because there is no one to help us,” the boy said in a video, published in the Australian Press. “There is no one to see how we are suffering. My mother is very sick and my brother is totally depressed.”
On 24th April, a health summary completed by healthcare provider IHMS said Karami had missed several mental health screenings, and refused to participate in assessments, but that “no concerns ... had otherwise been identified”.
“Mr Karami states though his post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms continue, that he did not wish to engage with specialist health services,” the summary said.
“He spoke of being angry at times in the context of his long term detention but presented as calm during the consultation. He did voice his concerns for his mother’s behavioural changes, his younger brother’s current schooling achievements and their current living facilities.”
On Friday morning, Karami was found unconscious by family members in his tent inside the RPC3 – the family camp – of the Australian-run regional processing centre.He could not be revived.
For the final months of his life, Karami’s mother kept up a stream of increasingly anguished correspondence to the camp’s management. She wrote to Canstruct International twice in April this year.
“Again and again, I am asking you help me. I request you to help myself and my kids. So far, with all misery, in any way we could, we tolerated our situation and trusted you. We were sure that you will shelter us. But it has became opposite. Bit by bit we die down. Physically and mentally we are deteriorated. Many time I begged you help. But each time you gave me repetitive answers.
“I can’t return to my country and IHMS doctors are not able to do anything for my kids. After five years, my kids’ situation and their environment need to be changed. They need to have a normal life. Please don’t make my children more sick. In anguish, I beg you to help.”
Mansour Beigi wrote a series of letters between August 2017 and March 2018, pleading for intervention.
“Each time you repeat that if I can’t put up with this circumstance, I should return to my country. If I could return to my country, why would I put up with your torturous prison and make myself and my children more and more sick each day. Please don’t give me the same answer. I am requesting help from you.”