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Iraqi refugee dies in Australian detention centre of suspected suicide

January 30, 2023 at 1:47 pm

Australian flag seen flying in Toowoomba, Queensland [Lachlan Fearnley / Wikimedia]

An Iraqi refugee has died in an immigration detention centre in Australia in a suspected suicide over the weekend.

According to the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) the detainee requested to be moved out of Villawood detention centre several times after reporting tension with other refugees being held there.

His requests to be moved were ignored, according to a spokesman for the RAC, adding that he and another detainee were fighting the day before he died.

“This incident in particular has caused an enormous amount of distress inside Villawood,” Ian Rintoul said.

“It is shocking that there has been yet another suicide in Villawood detention centre.”

READ: France repatriates 15 women, 32 children from north-west Syria camp

“It is not just a factory for mental illness, it is becoming a suicide factory.”

Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, run by Serco, is the largest detention centre in Australia.

Several men have died by suicide inside the Villawood compound over the past several years.

In April the death of a 35-year-old Iranian man was investigated after it was suspected he took his own life. He was bullied by other detainees, though staff refused to transfer him out of the compound.

In 2018 a 22-year-old Iraqi man died after taking his own life in Yongah Hill immigration detention centre in Australia.

His suicide gave way to protests and a fire that destroyed the centre.

Sarwan Aljhelie was put back in his cell despite attempting suicide three times and told that if he didn’t behave, he would be raped.