Lawyer For Asylum Seeker Hamid Kehazaei Confident Of Inquest Into His Death
Courtesy of smh, by Latika Bourke on 8 September 2014
The lawyer representing the asylum seeker who died after cutting his foot at the Manus Island detention centre is confident his death will be ruled as a “death in custody”, triggering an inquest.
Iranian man Hamid Kehazaei’s life support was turned off on Friday night. The 24-year-old had contracted septicaemia from the cut and was last week declared brain dead by doctors at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital. Mr Kehazaei’s had wanted to donate his organs, but doctors were unable to carry out that wish due to his illness.
Ruth Hudson, from the Sydney Law Firm Stacks, is acting for Mr Kehazaei’s family and said the “less formal court hearing” would allow the coroner to call “any evidence in any manner they think is appropriate”.
The inquest would run alongside a separate medical review already promised by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.
The chief medical officer is also conducting a “clinical review” of Mr Kehazaei’s case. Mr Morrison said he would “await the outcomes of this report” before making any further comments on the quality of care provided to asylum seekers.
But Ms Hudson said she held “grave concerns” that the medical treatment he received was not “outstanding” as has been claimed by Mr Morrison.
Ms Hudson said she expected the inquest would examine whether “the initial diagnosis was adequate and whether [Mr Kehazaei] received appropriate and timely treatment and was transferred [to Australia] as quickly as he should have been”.
She said Mr Kehazaei’s family are not planning to travel to Australia, but want “justice for their son” and answers as to how he could die from a cut to his foot.
She said “remedies” for the family would potentially be examined as part of the legal action.
Meanwhile, the Liberal National MP Wyatt Roy has called for a doubling of the refugee intake now the boats have stopped.
Mr Roy said in an opinion piece published on Monday, that 13,750 refugee places in Australia’s humanitarian program “should be at least doubled” once the backlog of asylum seekers’ claims is cleared.
“Lifting the cap is the logical humanitarian dividend of the government’s strong, committed border protection policy,” he wrote.
But the call was rejected by Prime Minister Tony Abbott who on Monday said “we don’t plan at this time to increase the overall numbers”.
Mr Morrison said the backlog would take “some years” to clear and there would come a time for a “sensible debate” for lifting the intake.
But the minister said he did not believe the government should be spending an extra $2 billion on the program which is the amount he says the increased humanitarian program would cost “at the very least”.