29/04/2016 1:17 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST

Nauru Refugee Omid Dies From Burns, As Two Reportedly Arrested For Suicide Attempts


UPDATE 2.20PM: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has confirmed Iranian refugee who set himself on fire on Nauru on Wednesday has died.

"A 23-year-old Iranian man who set himself on fire in Nauru has tragically died today from his injuries. Appropriate support is being provided to his wife and friends," stated a press release from the department.

"The man was taken to Republic of Nauru Hospital for medical treatment by the Nauruan authorities. He was then transferred to Australia by air ambulance for medical treatment. The man passed away this afternoon in a Brisbane Hospital."

"The Department expresses its sympathies to his wife, family and friends. The death will be reported to the Queensland Coroner. No further comment will be made at this time."

EARLIER: The 23-year-old man, identified as Omid in some media reports, was flown off Nauru on Thursday and taken to Brisbane hospital accompanied by his wife.

Dutton on Friday defended the amount of time it took to get the man off the tiny Pacific Island, where Australia houses asylum seekers as part of its offshore detention policy.

"I'm advised [Omid's] condition is still critical and I don't have any further advice beyond that but he's not in a good way at all," Dutton told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

"This is not a plane sitting on the runway at Nauru... It's a contracted arrangement where you need an air ambulance so you can provide stability and assistance to the patient in flight and obviously all of that was put in place to contract those services and the decision, as I say, was made very quickly once the condition of the patient was understood and the medical assistance was provided," he said.

Refugee advocates say at least five others attempted suicide around the same time, with reports emerging on Friday that two people had been arrested for attempting suicide, a crime on Nauru.

Dutton on Friday said reports of the arrests were a matter for the Nauru government.

Earlier this month, a refugee on Nauru was convicted and fined for attempting suicide in January.

The Huffington Post Australia has contacted a spokesperson for the Nauruan government for comment.

On Wednesday afternoon Dutton said that "the plan is to provide an airlift for [Omid] later tonight"; but as HuffPost Australia reported on Thursday, it took almost 24 hours for the plane to arrive.

A Careflight jet flew Omid to the burns unit of the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

HuffPost Australia contacted the Brisbane hospital on Friday but a spokeswoman said she was not able to provide any information on the case, and referred enquiries to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The ABC reported it took several hours for Careflight operators to stabilise Omid once the jet arrived on the island.

A candelight vigil was held outside the Brisbane hospital on Thursday night.

Anglican priest Father Nicholas Whereat told the ABC he wanted to show their support for the injured man.

"We feel deeply saddened that anyone would get to the point where they would consider doing such a thing, let alone actually going ahead and doing it," he said.

"We're here to be with this man and to support him and to hopefully let him know that at this time he's not alone and there are people in Australia that do care about him as a human being."

A protest was also held by asylum seekers on Nauru.

Community action group Get Up has organised snap protests outside Department of Immigration offices and in public spaces around the country on Friday, in support of the 'Bring Them Here' campaign calling for asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention to be brought to Australia.