Ian Rintoul

More than 1500 people crowded into Sydney's ornate Town Hall as an east coast low brought rain tumbling down, to rally for refugees. The pre-election refugee rights rally, themed 'Close Manus, Close Nauru, Bring Them Here', was held during World Refugee Week. Speakers included Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Ken Canning, who gave a moving acknowledgment of country; Ian Rintoul from Refugee Action Coalition; TV personality Margaret Pomeranz, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Sophia from Young Labor for Refugees, Hamad, a refugee, and Judith and Evan, who were teachers formerly on Nauru.
Immigration department officials seized pregnant Somali refugee Abyan from Villawood detention centre and flew her to the Solomon Islands on October 16, with the plan to fly her from there to Nauru. Abyan had been flown in from Nauru four days earlier to see doctors regarding the planned termination of a pregnancy that resulted from her being raped while in detention on the island.
The second suicide in little more than two months took place at Villawood detention centre on the night of November 15. Ahmad Al Akabi, 41, was found by fellow detainees hanged in a bathroom. After spending more than a year in the Christmas Island and Villawood detention centres, his asylum application had been rejected twice under the off-shore processing system that was found to be invalid in a recent High Court decision.
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