Vigil protest at Omid Masoumali inquest, killed by detention on Nauru

| February 24, 2019 | Reply

Omid Masoumali, an Iranian refugee on Nauru set himself on fire on 27 April, 2016. He needed immediate specialist attention but it took 31 hours before a medivac flight got to Nauru to fly him to Australia.

The excruciating delay that contributed to Omid’s death has never been explained. Omid died in Brisbane the day after he was medivacced to Brisbane, a victim of Australia’s offshore detention regime.

“Omid’s treatment at the Nauru hospital was shocking. They lacked experience; they lacked facilities and resources. He was left waiting for hours before he was even given basic pain relief,” said Ian Rintoul spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“There is simply no excuse for him waiting so long for the medivac flight that could have saved his life. The Australian government had a duty of care but it could not be bothered. It was a similar lack of care that cost Hamed Khazaie’s life in 2014. It will be up to the coroner’s inquiry to finally reveal the cause of the delays in Omid’s case, and if there has been a government cover-up of the truth behind Omid’s death.”

In August, 2018, the coroner, Tony Ryan, investigating the death of another offshore refugee, Hamed Khazaie, damned the standard of medical treatment on Manus Island and in Port Moresby that contributed to Hamed’s death.

Crucially, the coroner also found that if Hamed been evacuated from Manus to Australia within 24 hours of developing severe sepsis, he would have survived. But delays and obstruction by Border Force prevented him being transferred.

The Coalition government would not agree to implement the recommendations of the inquiry into Hamed’s death, just as they now oppose doctors’ recommendations and the Medivac transfer bill.

“Omid’s death is a tragic reminder of why offshore detention must be ended. Omid should never have been sent to Nauru; he was given a death sentence. Detention was unbearable in 2016. It is worse in 2019.

“There will be no justice for Omid until all the asylum seeker and refugees on Nauru and Manus are evacuated and given protection on the mainland.”

The vigil protest will be Monday 25 February, 8.30am, at the front of the Coroner’s Court 363 George Street, Brisbane.

Contact Ian Rintoul 0417275713, or at the vigil, Mark Gillespie 0439561 196

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