Asylum Seeker Declared 'Brain Dead' After Failed Treatment On Manus


A young Iranian asylum seeker has been declared brain dead after sustaining a wound while being held in immigration detention on Manus Island, according to refugee advocates.

Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, said 24-year-old Hamid Kehazaei had been evacuated to Brisbane’s Mater Hospital after he developed septicaemia, sustained via a cut to his foot.

It is believed Kehazaei suffered a heart attack in hospital yesterday and that his family were told he was now brain dead and being kept alive by a life support device.

A spokesperson for the Mater Hospital confirmed the hospital had been treating a transferee from Manus Island but said they could not confirm details as family members had not signed a release form.

It is understood that asylum seeker advocates had been aware of Kehazaei’s presence in the hospital for some time and had been unsuccessfully attempting to make contact with him.

A message signed by detainees on Manus Island blamed IHMS for Kehazaei’s condition, while Rintoul said the Immigration Minister was responsible.

“Once again, Scott Morrison is responsible for a death on Manus Island. There are scores of infections on Manus Island, and many complaints of the lack of medical attention,” he said.

“Asylum seekers on Manus Island are often forced to walk through raw sewage.”

Morrison confirmed last week that an Iranian man had been transferred from Manus Island to Brisbane.

"On the advice of the clinical team, including the department's health service provider IHMS, it was recommended that he be transferred to the Australian mainland to receive further specialised care," he said.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s ongoing investigation into the detention of children has heard evidence from IHMS staff members that medical evacuations from Christmas Island are often delayed or overruled by Australian Immigration officials.

IHMS told New Matilda their spokesperson was currently unavailable.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has also expressed anger over the reported incident and members of the Refugee Action Collective Queensland are planning a vigil outside the Mater Hospital tomorrow.

The news of Kehazaei’s condition comes as Australia appears to be winding down the infamous Manus detention compound and instead transferring asylum seekers to Nauru.

In February this year asylum seeker Reza Barati was murdered after local staff and police entered the detention centre and attacked detainees.

182 days later, two men were charged for the killing.


Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.