Ethiopian's deportation a 'death sentence'

January 26, 2000

Ethiopian's deportation a 'death sentence'

By Sean Healy

Immigration minister Philip Ruddock has rejected an application for refugee status by an paraplegic Ethiopian man with HIV. Abebe Fekado's application was rejected by the immigration department and the Refugee Review Tribunal because he entered the country on an illegal tourist visa.

Fekado was previously imprisoned in Ethiopia for his political beliefs and said he was denied treatment at government hospitals when he broke his spine in 1997. His sister, Elsa Fekado, was granted refugee status in Australia in 1992.

According to Fekado's doctor, the decision to return him to Ethiopia is "tantamount to a death sentence". He could be deported at any time.

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