Iranian asylum seeker dies of burns after setting fire to himself on Nauru

The immigration department says an Iranian man who set fire to himself on Nauru has died of his injuries at a Brisbane hospital.


A still from a video showing the man setting himself alight in Australian immigration detention on Nauru. Source: SBS

An Iranian asylum seeker who set fire to himself on Nauru has died of his injuries in a Brisbane hospital.

The immigration department said the 23-year-old man, who activists say was named Omid, died on Friday afternoon, almost 24 hours after arriving at Royal Brisbane Hospital.

He had initially been taken to Nauru Hospital after setting fire to himself on Wednesday while officials from the United Nations refugee agency were visiting the island.


"The department expresses its sympathies to his wife, family and friends," it said in a statement.

Human Rights campaigner Aurora Adams said Omid, who had a wife, had been in detention for three years.

"All he wanted was a future and a place to rebuild his life," Ms Adams said in a statement from Get Up!.

"Our thoughts are with his family and those who remain in Nauru.

"Australia must do better than this. The camps must be closed, and the people held there brought here to safety."

The Refugee Action Coalition immediately hit out at Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the government's offshore detention system, saying they were responsible for Omid's death.

Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said the lack of experienced staff, medical supplies and "shocking conditions in the Nauru hospital" cost him his life.

Mr Rintoul called on the Turnbull government to bring all asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru to the Australian mainland.

"Offshore processing is criminal and there was a criminal delay in Omid obtaining the treatment and care he needed. Those responsible must be held to account," he said in a statement.

"How many more lives and souls are to be lost before the government will face up to its hypocrisy of declaring that offshore detention is about saving lives at sea, while lives are destroyed in their detention camps?"

2 min read
Published 29 April 2016 at 4:46pm
Source: AAP