Tamil asylum seeker dies after suicide attempt in Brisbane hospital

Man, who leaves behind a wife and four children in Sri Lanka, had recently had his claim for protection rejected

A Tamil asylum seeker and father of four, admitted to hospital suffering severe depression, has died after attempting to take his own life inside a Brisbane hospital.

Last Friday at Logan hospital, the man, who had recently had his claim for protection rejected, died days after attempting to kill himself inside the hospital.

He had been admitted early last week, after friends were concerned about his deep depression and his refusal to eat. He attempted suicide inside the Logan hospital on Friday, and was subsequently found to be braindead.

His life support was turned off on Sunday with the permission of his family.

The Tamil asylum seeker, who leaves behind a wife and four children still in Sri Lanka, arrived in Australia by boat in 2012. He was among the first group of asylum seekers sent to Nauru by the Labor government under prime minister Julia Gillard.

Those asylum seekers were brought back to Australia in 2014 to have their asylum claims reassessed in Australia.

The vast majority were then banned from making a protection application. Most were kept waiting years and have only been allowed to make a claim in the last 12 months.

Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, said the government’s asylum regime was deliberately punitive.

“This Tamil asylum seeker is another casualty of deliberately harsh policies to break people who make asylum claims. They are denied natural justice and have been subjected to unacceptable delays, and denied legal help,” he said.

“More asylum seekers in the community are destitute because the government has cut off all support for them. Now, the government’s policies have taken another life.”

Meanwhile, a man has collapsed inside Sydney’s Villawood immigration detention centre, and is in a critical condition.

Sources within Villawood say the 30-year-old man collapsed Tuesday afternoon, suffering a suspected cardiac arrest. The man is reportedly an Iranian asylum seeker who had been living in the community, but was then re-detained by the Department of Home Affairs.

Video shot inside the centre shows paramedics working on a person lying on the ground in the yard outside the Latrobe wing of the detention centre.

The man was taken to Liverpool hospital. The Department of Home Affairs has not confirmed the man’s condition.

  • Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org


Ben Doherty

The GuardianTramp

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