Ahmad Al Akabi: Another asylum seeker death in Villawood

detainees behind the high bars and razor wire of villawood detention centre

Detainees behind bars and razor wire: Villawood. Source: Creative commons 2 http://www.flickr.com/ photos/publik15/3587633457/

Ahmad Al-Akabi, aged 41, had a wife and was a father of three girls aged two, four and seven.  He had come to Australia and had hoped to eventually bring his family with him.  He arrived by boat.  He was from Iraq.  He is reported to have been in detention for over a year:  first in Christmas Island and then in Villawood (a security facility surrounded by razor wire in Sydney).     He had fled Iraq after being attacked by religious militias.[1]

It is said that his two applications for asylum were rejected.  It is also reported that he had begged immigration authorities to be allowed to go home.  His deportation request was confirmed by immigration authorities.[2]

It is reported that he committed suicide on 16 November 2010.  Ahmad Al-Akabi becomes, on the records maintained on this website, the 924th person to lose their life since 2000 either in a detention centre or while attempting to reach Australia irregularly.  He is the second person to lose his life in this way in Villawood in the last two months.   Josefa Rauluni, a democratic activist from Fiji seeking asylum, whose asylum applications had been rejected, committed suicide by jumping from the roof of a building in Villawood on 20 September 2010.

Glenda Kwek of the Sydney Morning Herald reported that George Newhouse, a lawyer, speaking on behalf of the Social Justice Network is calling for an inquiry into the conditions in which asylum seekers are being kept.

Mr Al-Akabi’s death sparked new protests both inside and outside Villawood.

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