Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Syrian Man 24 days without solid food, department in denial

I made several calls yesterday to the Department of Immigration, first being answered by a woman who said she was the Syrian man’s case officer, and then transferred without explanation after I had told his story, to a number that did not answer. I was then told this some other man was the case officer, but he was in a meeting. I called this number again, and again, and finally, after being told he was in a meeting still, I got a call straight back from him on my mobile. I tell him about the Syrian man’s epilepsy, his going to court, having a fit, off to hospital, back to detention, return to court, epileptic fit, off to hospital, how can it more forward? He says he is grateful for this information, which seems like news to him, the case officer.

Later, a man from the department’s media unit in Canberra called me to assure me that the Syrian man was not on hunger strike, as they had him under observation. Why are we expected to take the word of the jailers? I see this man face to face. I see a man with no appetite for abuse, for further humiliation, for indignity heaped upon indignity. I have no appetite for the spin doctors of this inhumane detention regime.

Apparently sick people were housed outside of the detention centres, in care facilities, or released into community care, until the new minister put a stop to this. I don’t know, Kevin Andrews (Minister for Immigration), I send this blog to you every time I update it. What do you say? Can you show some compassion for this sick and damaged man? Or will he continue to waste away in front of my eyes, while his mercenary jailers lie to you?


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