Barely a whisper about 24 year old Saeed Hassanloo’s 40 days of hunger striking – willing death rather than spending more time in Australia’s dirty detention system. Mr Hassanloo has been held in detention since he was 19 years old – the bloom of his young adult life bled in Australia’s catastrophic human rights abuse – immigration detention. The young man is near death at Royal Perth Hospital. Human rights advocates are doing the vigils, crying out but their tears, their words barely a mention in our national media.

The media is fast becoming useless, no more than a mouthpiece of the State, dealing only in the information provided to it by Government. Only in the last couple of days has the plight of Mr Hassanloo triggered a mention, now that he is reportedly at death’s door. The word I have got tonight is that he is barely conscious and that he is at risk of irreparable organ failure – perfusion imminent. How is it possible that the Australian media has not reported much earlier the plight of this person? How is it possible that his plight has not been followed near daily? The media’s failure has meant that no debate has been knocked up on the underlying issues of why this person is prepared to die. We are living in dark times, in times where a 40 day hunger strike no longer matters, where inhumanity and racism are dealt in as matter of fact.

Mr Hassanloo will be an immigration death in custody that the Australian Government and the Australian nation should have avoided. They are prepared to let him die. They have damaged the national consciousness so deeply that this young man’s death will be laid on him by so many Australians. But many other Australians do care and deeply so, some with a burning hatred of their Government. If he dies, he will be classified as a suicide or within some other unnatural death classification.

Mr Hassanloo was transferred from Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre on March 10 to Royal Perth Hospital. He saw only hopelessness, after years of effectively being incarcerated and continued his hunger strike. He arrived with his brother in 2009 but recently they were intentionally separated by the embedded cruelness of the Australian Immigration mob. You would think they would have his brother by his bedside.

The Hassanloo brothers have battled forlornly for six years for a visa. They left Iran for an Australian nightmare that they never expected. If you want to know racism these days come find it in Australia.

Australian Immigration provided a statement, “The Government has made it very clear that when a person has exhausted all avenues to remain in Australia, they are expected to depart Australia.”

As someone who has lived racism in this nation lifelong and as a researcher in unveiling racism I understand the deplorable issues that have led to the barbaric inhumanities that our asylum seekers are enduring. As someone who is a suicide prevention researcher I understand the sense of hopelessness this person feels, is lost within and of the wearing down of his resilience. I understand the less than human existence he feels he is living, the indignities that have become overwhelming, crippling. He needs the type of psychosocial support that only the lived experience of equality can nourish his self-esteem – that we are all equal to one another. People need people, people strengthen people, but it is also true that people damage people, people weaken people. It is my view that the Australian Government and Australian Immigration have damaged and weakened Mr Hassanloo.

He can be saved. But we need the political will for this. Time is running out, his organs are shutting down. It is the view of many now that only the media can save Mr Hassanloo? We need the media to scrub up here big time.

Royal Perth Hospital medical personnel are doing everything they can for Mr Hassanloo. He has said that he does not want to be resuscitated if it comes to this. A psychiatrist has seen him but other than the finding that Mr Hassanloo is sound of mind, there is nothing more they can do for him. He does not want to see mental health practitioners, psychosocial counsellors and suicide prevention workers. Despite being a patient of the hospital he is the ‘property’ of Australian Immigration, they decide who sees him and what not.

Mr Hassanloo had only his older brother Majid with him. As he became weaker from the hunger strike, his brother was transferred from Yongah Hill to Christmas Island. Can you believe this?

The word is that Mr Hassanloo despaired after being separated from his brother and that as result, having next to nothing to live for he then too began to refuse water, dehydrating himself to the perilous condition that has finished him up on death’s door at Royal Perth Hospital.

After nearly six years of effectively psychologically and emotionally abusing the Hassanloo brothers, Australian Immigration apparently informed them they need to return to Iran despite their fears of being persecuted.

They have been shuffled around the continent’s detention centres – Villawood, Darwin, Yongah and with Majid now at Christmas Island.

The death of one brother may save the other brother – some mercy may then be shown to him by an otherwise deplorable Australian Government in these racist times. Where Saeed’s hunger strike has failed to score attention in the national media, in death it may be otherwise, and just enough for the Government to reconsider his brother’s plight. It should not have to come to this, but like I have written above, we live in racist, inhumane, murderous times.


–          There is a vigil for Mr Hassanloo outside Royal Perth Hospital on Good Friday (tomorrow), from 7pm. Hopefully the media will turn up.


The only media thus far:

Hunger striker separated from brother

Iranian asylum seeker on hunger strike in Perth hospital reportedly near death

Hunger striker close to death – Greens call for Federal Government to show compassion

Choosing death over returning home

Radio National – Hunger striker close to death