Two asylum seekers need hospital care after reports of self-harm

The Wickham Point immigration Detention Centre, 30 kilometres southeast of Darwin. Photo: Glenn CampbellAn Afghan man who is believed to have tried to take his own life has been returned to a West Australian detention centre after a week-long stay in a hospital.
Shanghai night field

Another asylum seeker tried to commit suicide at Wickham Point Detention Centre on Sunday morning.

A fellow detainee said the Afghan man, believed to be Ali Jaffery, “cut his throat” at the Yongah​ Hill Detention Centre, north-west of Perth, on August 21.

A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said on August 21, a male detainee was transferred from Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre to hospital, where he received medical treatment.

The spokesman said the man was returned to Yongah Hill on August 28. They would not give any other information, saying it would be “inappropriate to discuss individual medical circumstances”.

The detainee said the man, who was in his late 20s, had been in the “mental health room” and didn’t mingle with anyone.

“There was too much blood,” the detainee said.

“I saw the blanket and his singlet … it was covered in blood. All of it was was red.

“There was blood in the front of the room.”

The detainee said others who had been inside the room saw both the bed and the floor were covered in blood.

He said such incidents of self-harm had become the norm at the centre.

“Every day someone tries to hang themselves,” he said.

“Whatever we do, nothing happens.”

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition said the man’s visa had been cancelled, but he couldn’t be returned home because he was a refugee or awaiting a decision on his status.

Mr Rintoul said the man was yet another victim of the government’s detention regime.

“If an Australian citizen commits a crime, then they pay whatever penalty the court establishes and … they are considered to have paid their debt to society,” he said.

“But someone who is an asylum seeker or refugee, even if they have completed their sentence … they are subject to immigration detention on top.

“There is no excuse for indefinite detention; it is a recipe for mental illness and attempted suicide.”

Mr Rintoul said it was concerning that the man had been returned to the centre.

“He is back in the circumstances that is likely to mean he will try again [to harm himself].”

The latest incident follows the death of a young Afghan asylum seeker at the Yongah Hill Detention Centre just over four weeks ago.

Mohammad Nasim Najafi​ died on July 31 amid claims he had been denied medical treatment for two weeks despite complaining of heart trouble.

Mr Rintoul said an asylum seeker had also tried to commit suicide at 1.15am on Sunday at the Wickham Point Detention Centre.

A spokeswoman for the Department on Immigration and Border Protection said an incident had occurred at Wickham Point Detention Centre.

“The detainee involved is receiving appropriate medical and mental health support and care,” she said.  For help or information on mental health issues call Lifeline 131 114

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