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Refugee Health Crisis leads to Bedside Arrest at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

Updated: Aug 6, 2020


Last night, Christian and community organiser Elise Ganley was arrested and removed by five Queensland Police from the Royal Brisbane Hospital Emergency Department while visiting friend, Engineer, vocal advocate and fellow Christian, Farhad Rahmati.  Mr Rahmati was forcibly moved from Kangaroo Point Central Apartments in June which sparked the 24/7 42 day blockade outside the hotel. He has since been held at Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA).  He was receiving Cardiac treatment at the Royal Brisbane Hospital and was surrounded by several guards. These guards had attempted to handcuff him before he was taken in the ambulance to Hospital.  “The harshness of detention itself is the reason for my heart condition in Manus Island and yet they tried to handcuff me for a trip to Hospital, against the advice of paramedics” said Mr. Rahamti.  “The company which provides security is the main reason for our anxiety and stress. They put us under heavy security measures and work alongside the government to criminalize refugees. We are seeking a home, community and future.” Ms Ganley was given a visitor’s pass into the Royal Brisbane Emergency Department to visit Mr. Rahmati but despite being one metre away from her friend, was told to leave as she needed the approval of Australian Border Force. “I refused to move from where he was because it felt deeply against our Christian faith to leave him alone. It is hard comprehend how it can be illegal in Australia for me to visit a fellow Christian in hospital. These men came seeking a home and instead they have been tortured, become sick and become political prisoners.” “Farhad is the fourth refugee that I have been with at Brisbane Hospitals within the past week. My two friends that self harmed after seven years of detention on Monday night were also refused visitors and instead were left with guards. Sabbah, whose husband Saif is in detention at Kangaroo Point is also very sick and needs her husband to be released to help her medical care.”

“Scott Morrison has divided refugee families in Brisbane and his Immigration Act is intentionally designed to make sick people sicker. The men who are being held need health care, friends and community, not indefinite detention which is causing irreparable harm.” “I’ve grown up in churches where Christians look after each other. Visiting sick people in hospital is the most basic Christian act of relationship and community.” “We have a health care crisis happening for refugees within BITA and Kangaroo Point Central Apartments and we fear that that a covid-19 outbreak here would be lethal.” Mr Rahmati was brought to Australia for cardiac treatment last July under Medevac. Mr Rahmati was held on Manus since 2013. His former Manus roommate was a Doctor and died in Brisbane. Farhad Rahmati, Refugee, Engingeer and Advocate at BITA.

Craig Foster, Advocate, Game Over campaign

Elise Ganley Community Organiser  I live, meet and work on the lands of the Jaggera and Turrbal People. I pay respect to their elders and commit to support the work of first nations.


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