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Refugee Held On Manus Island Has Died After Being Airlifted To Australia

The Sudanese man was flown to Brisbane after "a fall and seizure" at the offshore processing centre.

24/12/2016 4:11 PM AEDT | Updated 24/12/2016 7:27 PM AEDT
Stringer . / Reuters
Asylum-seekers look through a fence at the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

A 27-year-old Sudanese refugee has died in a Brisbane hospital from injuries suffered after "a fall and seizure" at the Manus Island offshore processing centre, according to the Immigration Department.

The man was air-lifted to Australia for further medical care on Friday after he collapsed and struck his head on Thursday. He died at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

The Immigration Department says they "are not aware of any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death" and "expresses its sympathies to his family and friends".

The Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) have identified the man as Faysal Ishak Ahmed. A statement from Behrouz Boochani, a refugee on Manus Island, said Ahmend was seriously sick for more than 6 months.

"More than 60 people wrote a letter to IHMS [International Health and Medical Services] and explained to them how Faysal is sick and has constant headache and heart," Boochani said.

"Every day Faysal went to medical asking for help. They did not help him. A few days ago a nurse in IHMS told Faysal that he was fine and didn't need medical treatment. Now we know he has died."

Ian Rintoul, a spokesperson for the RAC, says they have been aware of his medical condition for weeks.

"What we do know is that he had been fainting and collapsing over the last several weeks and the causes have not been properly investigated in either circumstances," Rintoul told Huffpost Australia.

"It is not known if he has died as a result of the head injury or an underlying condition.

The advocacy group says the responsibility for Faysal Ishak Ahmed's death lies with the Immigration Department and the Minister for Immigration.

"It is a unnecessary tragedy and it is at the feat of the immigration department," Rintoul said.

"What we do know is that he should not have been in detention, should not have been on Manus Island and was denied the medical attention he needed. Faysal is another fatal victim of Australia's brutal detention regime."

Rintoul says the Immigration Department have not learned from the death of Hamid Kehazaei, a 24-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who died in 2014. Kehazaei developed septicaemia after cutting his foot at the Manus Island offshore processing centre. He was declared brain dead.

"The PNG Supreme Court ordered that Manus be closed last April. It is still open only because the Australian government has refused to accept the decision of the Supreme Court," Rintoul said in a statement.

"The government should stop playing with refugees' lives and bring them to Australia where they can get the protection an medical attention they need."

The Huffington Post Australia reached out to the Immigration Department but received no further comment.

The Immigration Department's full statement:

"A 27-year-old Sudanese refugee has sadly died today from injuries suffered after a fall and seizure at the Manus Regional Processing Centre.

"The man was taken to IHMS Clinic on Manus for urgent treatment. He was then air-lifted to Australia for further medical care. The man died at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

"The Department is not aware of any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and expresses its sympathies to his family and friends.

"The death will be reported to the Queensland Coroner. No further comment will be made at this time."

This is a developing story.

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