A 33-year-old Iranian refugee who began a hunger strike last year has restarted his protest. At the time of writing he was wheelchair bound and in a critical condition. The man began the hunger strike in early November after losing his appeal for refugee status.
The initial strike lasted 53 days but was stopped after his lawyers persuaded him to eat after they had found a different route for his appeal. The man is one of 35 Iranian refugees currently being held at Wickham Point detention centre in Darwin. All have had their refugee applications refused.
At the moment Australia cannot forcibly return Iranian nationals to Iran but they can return voluntarily. Their only other option is to remain locked up in an Australian detention centre.
The man says he fears for his life. If he returns to Iran he may be jailed and tortured. His lawyer has stated that the man has ‘lost all hope’ and has no faith in the Australian legal system. He said that the man plans to take his hunger strike ‘till the end’. This is a tragic turn of events highlights the brutality of the government’s cruel refugee policy.
By Aishwarya Ramji