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Vigils in Australia for an Iranian Asylum Seeker Who Died After Getting Sick in a Detention Center

On Friday 5 September 2014, Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei died in a Brisbane hospital following his family's decision to switch off his life support. He had been declared ‘brain dead’ after contracting septicaemia from an infection contracted while in offshore detention on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

Many Australians had responded with compassion or anger including a series of vigils.

The vigils included:

Sydney, New South Wales

Candlelight vigil for Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei - Sydney Photo by Sergio Leyva Seiglie, CC Demotix (4 Sep 2014)

Candlelight vigil for Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei – Sydney
Photo by Sergio Leyva Seiglie, CC Demotix (4 Sep 2014)

Perth, Western Australia

Adelaide, South Australia

This photo is from the Facebook album: #LightTheDark for Hamid Kehazaei by The Welcome Centre volunteer Dyako.

#LightTheDark for Hamid Kehazaei Courtesy: The Welcome Centre volunteer Dyako (Facebook)

#LightTheDark for Hamid Kehazaei
Courtesy: The Welcome Centre volunteer Dyako (Facebook)

Michaela McGuire expressed the shared anguish on The Monthly blog:

What is saddest about the brain death of 24-year-old Iranian man Hamid Kehazaei is what could have saved him: a pair of shoes, or some basic medical treatment. Perhaps just a bandaid.

The treatment of asylum seekers who arrive by boat has been a very controversial issue under both the current conservative government led by Tony Abbott and the previous Labor ones of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. David Legge tweeted:

The Asylum Seeker Resource Center repeated its longstanding position:

The Immigration minister Scott Morrison has defended the health care provided to detainees on Manus.

There was hope for a one positive aspect to this unfolding tragedy:

Apparently this will not be possible because of his septicaemia.

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