Asylum seeker said detention made him want to die

An Afghan asylum seeker holder has blamed the federal government for the desperation which led to his decision to take his own life, in a video recorded before he died.

Dr Habib Vahedi, who was living in Australia on a Temporary Protection Visa, hanged himself at the South Australian town of Murray Bridge on February 3rd this year.

A physiotherapist widely respected in the Afghan community, Dr Vahedi was married with 4 children.

In the transcript of the suicide tape obtained by SBS Radio, Dr Vahedi begs the forgiveness of his family, but blames three-and-a-half years in immigration detention for creating unbearable mental pressure.

Spokesman for the Afghan Multi-ethnic Association of South Australia, Hassan Verasi says Dr Vahedi's death must not be in vain.

Mr Verasi is calling on the federal government to immediately change its immigration policies to remove the discrimination and uncertainty that is even now driving other TPV holders to the brink of suicide.

"The TPV policy is cruel, abusive, destructive and inhuman.

"We would like to ask the Government to end this process.

"Our community demands a full judicial inquiry for all the TPV process, and the second demand is a formal apology from the Immigration Department for this, for the Afghan community as well as all TPV refugees."

South Australian Greens MP Kris Hanna says he hopes Dr Vahedi's plight will generate community support for policy change.

Mr Hanna is particularly critical of what he calls the federal government's double standards.

"Just after the suicide, Minister Ruddock was reported as blaming the friends of Dr Habib Vahedi, the deceased - for failing to give him enough support, and I accuse Mr Ruddock of being heartless and hypocritical, because it's the lack of support for TPV holders generally that is the real problem here."

A senior counsellor from the Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service, Steven Thompson says Dr Vahedi's repeated reference to "mental pressure" in the suicide tape reveals a man overwhelmed and swept away by a flood of despair and isolation.

Mr Thompson says Australia must take some responsibility for the tragic and violent death and act swiftly to improve the situation for other TPV holders.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that to arrive here fleeing a hostile and violent environment and then to be confronted with rejection and incarceration in a detention centre - there's no doubt this re-traumatises individuals who are already suffering the effects of war and prejudice, and I think we are to some extent all implicated in this tragic death."
Source SBS

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch