16 Nov 2010

Detention centre protests after second suicide

8:13 pm on 16 November 2010

Groups are protesting inside and outside Sydney's Villawood immigration detention centre following the suicide of an Iraqi asylum-seeker overnight.

A large group of detainees has begun a hunger strike, while a smaller group of supporters is holding placards outside the grounds.

The suicide is the second at the centre in two months. In September, a Fijian man committed suicide after being denied refugee status. Authorities were preparing to return him to Fiji and his death sparked protests from other detainees.

The Immigration Department says the Iraqi man was found unconscious in his quarters on Tuesday morning and taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Other detainees at Villawood say the 41-year-old Iraqi had been in detention for about a year and had his claim for asylum refused.

They say he had asked to be sent back to Iraq to be with his wife and family.