Immigration

‘They give us no clear answers’: Medevac asylum seeker reportedly detained in Melbourne hotel speaks out

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Farhad told The Feed he was brought to Australia nearly five months ago for toothache treatment - but is still suffering pain and bleeding.

For Farhad Bandesh, it's been a long, painful and uncertain few months.

The Kurdish asylum seeker says he was brought to Australia under 'medevac' laws almost five months ago and is now being held at a Mantra hotel in Melbourne's north.

As the Sydney Morning Herald reported, a number of asylum seekers are being detained at the hotel. The group of more than 40 men are being held on one floor of the complex, with limited access to a gym.

Farhad says he was brought to Australia for treatment for some dental issues and pain in his arm. The Feed spoke to him via phone from the hotel.

"I have [had] a toothache more than five months," he told The Feed.

"I had taken three courses of antibiotics for my teeth, I had a bad condition and I still have the abscess with me and bleeding everyday."

"They said 'okay you're happy to pull it out' and I said no, I requested to do it properly and I'm happy to pay it by my own money. [But] they just say 'we don't know about your case'.

They just want to do the easy way, and cheaper way. They don't want to spend money for refugees.

Farhad is also dealing with pain from an arm injury, which he says doctors have so far been unable to diagnose.

"I have seen a doctor and I did an ultrasound and twice MRI and the doctor says there is nothing, we cannot see nothing."

"Sometimes I cannot sleep at all," he said.

"The medication, I need to ask just for Panadol - they cannot give me stronger."

He says physio appointments were suspended for two weeks without warning, as the doctor had gone on vacation. When Farhad asked why, he says he received no answers.

The Feed reached out to the Australian Border Force for comment.

In a statement, a spokesperson said the department "does not discuss individual cases, nor their medical treatment, for privacy reasons."

"All people in immigration detention have access to medical care as required."

However, Farhad says he's had a different experience.

"The system is so slow."

According to Farhad most of the group are still waiting for medical treatment.

"Some people have tooth problems, they need surgery. Some people...they have problems with legs and back."

The Feed first spoke to Farhad in June this year.

He'd just released 'The Big Exhale', a song he wrote about his time in detention on Manus Island.

At the time, he was being held indefinitely on the remote Papua New Guinean island.

"[The politicians] kill our hope. We are depressed, hopeless. The experience on this remote island is really, really awful," he told The Feed in June of his time in offshore processing.

He says he's still working on music about his experiences - but his first priority is now his health.

More than anything, Farhad is looking for answers.

"We need to know the reason we are here for medical treatment, why we are here for almost five months and nothing changed, nothing happened to us.

They don't give us any clear answers.

"Everywhere [at the hotel] is really busy and noisy, and we need some fresh air.

"Like other people we need to be free from people, we just stuck here."

Farhad does not know how much longer he'll be kept in Australia, or whether he'll be sent back to Manus Island after treatment.

When asked about the future after medical treatment for this group of asylum seekers, the Australian Border Force spokesperson said: "Once transferees no longer need to be in Australia for the temporary purpose for which they were brought (medical treatment), they are expected to return to a regional processing country".

Despite the pain and uncertainty, Farhad is determined to stay strong.

"I have lots [of] people, they care about me and I need to be strong because of these beautiful people," he told The Feed.

"I need to fight for my freedom that's the reason I need to be strong."

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