Suicide detainee’s pleas were ‘ignored’
There are claims the man who died at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre yesterday was to be a witness in legal action against the Fijian government.
The revelation comes as 13 asylum seekers protest on the roof of the Sydney detention centre.
Eleven asylum seekers spent the night on the roof of one of the centre’s buildings after yesterday asking to speak to Immigration Department officials.
Two more men have since joined the protest, climbing onto the roof of another building.
Two of the original protesters have cut themselves and the group has refused food and water.
The original 11 men – nine Sri Lankan Tamils and two Iraqis – have been protesting for 24 hours. They scaled the roof after the apparent suicide death of Fijian man Josefa Rauluni.
Mr Rauluni is thought to have killed himself by jumping off the roof of one of the detention centre buildings.
Fiji Freedom and Democracy Movement president Usaia Waqatairewa says he spoke to Mr Rauluni twice as he stood on the detention centre’s roof.
“[Rauluni] is saying to me: ‘They’re trying to grab me. I’d rather die than go back to Fiji’,” he said.
Mr Waqatairewa says both times he asked to talk to Villawood security.
“I asked them to back off because I’m going to try and call the Department of Immigration to intervene and twice they hung up on me,” he said.
“[Rauluni] asked to talk to the security guards standing nearby, appealing for them to back off, telling them he has the potential to be a major witness in a fraud case that [he's] trying to nail for the police, for people who have been victimised in Australia by Fiji, but they wouldn’t listen.
“The lady said: ‘We’ve got a job to do’ and I was really upset. I said: ‘If he jumps, it’s going to be your head on the chopping block’ and she hung up on me.”
The police investigation into Mr Rauluni’s death is continuing.
But his death has sparked calls from the Federal Government’s Immigration Detention Advisory Group for an overhaul of mental health care for asylum seekers.
But the new Federal Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, says it is not his responsibility.
“Those are primarily matters that should be directed at the Immigration Minister,” he said.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says he is reviewing what he describes is a tragic incident.
“Obviously in relation to security I’ll have a look at this incident and see if there’s anything to learn from this incident,” he said.
It is with heavy heart that we report this story and our deepest commiserations are for the Rauluni Family and their friends.
The deep sorrow we feel for Josefa Rauluni cannot be expressed and noone will understand the loss of this fine man better than his Family and friends.
May Gods Blessings be with you all, and may peace and refomation prevail for a better Fiji.