A 33 year-old refugee, from Sierra Leone has hanged himself in Villawood Detention Centre. He was found in his room
around 4.30pm, this afternoon, Friday 25 January.
It is understood that Musa (not his real name) had been held in the detention centre around three years, and had
previously been diagnosed with psychiatric problems.
Tragically, Musa was actually on ‘suicide watch’ inside the Mitchell compound of Villawood detention centre, having been
being discharged from Liverpool Hospital only two days ago.
“This is a completely shocking and unnecessary death; the responsibility for which lies with the Minister. It was the
Minister for Immigration and Home Affairs who was keeping him in detention. The responsibility for his death lies with
the Minister,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Musa should never have been in detention in the first place. His severe mental health problems have been known for
years, yet he was kept in detention with no hope of getting well.”
The refugee’s death comes as a national hunger strike protest has pushed the issue of long-term detention, and the
injustices associated with s501 of the Migration Action and the Ministerial powers that allow non-citizens to be denied
normal appeal and to held essentially in indefinite detention at the discretion of the Minister.
“The Minister needs to urgently act to release all the at-risk detainees as the first step in closing tall the detention
centres completely. We need more than the usual coronial inquest inquiry that can takes years before there is any
finding," said Rintoul.
" There are hundreds of people at-risk inside the mainland detention centres. We need an independent inquiry to find out
why he was in detention, instead of getting the mental health care he needed in the community.”