Activists call for Iranians' release

Issue 
A picture of Saeed Hanssanloo held at a vigil in Perth.

Twenty-five-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Saeed Hanssanloo was reportedly improving with medical assistance after ending his hunger strike on April 7. Hanssanloo began refusing food more than 40 days previously when he learnt his asylum claim had been rejected. The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on April 8.

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The Refugee Action Coalition has welcomed the news that Iranian hunger striker Saeed Hanssanloo has ended his hunger strike.

Now the [immigration] minister [Peter Dutton] must release Saeed, his brother and the 40-odd other Iranians being held in indefinite detention.

Despite the minister’s public comments, Saeed’s case has not been finalised. The department initiated an “International Treaty Obligations Assessment” process in January this year.

Hundreds of others in a similar situation are living in the community on bridging visas.

“The minister has to explain why Saeed and his brother were not released on bridging visas,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Peter Dutton has assiduously avoided explaining why he didn’t do the obvious. Saeed and his brother were living in the community on bridging visas until 2012.

“Twice this year, Iranian asylum seekers have come close to dying in detention. The minister is completely blinkered by domestic politics. Unless Peter Dutton releases Saeed and the others, it is only a matter of time before this happens again. Some of the Iranians in Darwin, in similar a situation to Saeed, have now been re-detained for nine months. The government’s policy is senseless.

“The responsibility still lies with the minister. He can do nothing and wait for the next crisis, and waste more lives and money or he can do the sensible and decent thing.”

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