An Iranian asylum seeker has been fined for trying to kill himself during an attempt to move him and his daughter from an Australian-funded detention centre on the island of Nauru.
Sam Nemati, sole guardian of the eight-year-old girl, admitted the charge and was ordered to pay A$200 ($155; £109).
Mr Nemati had been in the detention centre for two years.
Australia relocates all refugees trying to reach the country by boat to Nauru and Papua New Guinea. The process is extremely controversial despite being supported by both the Liberal-National Coalition Government and Opposition Labor party.
Nauru is a small Pacific island nation about 3,000 km (1,800 miles) north-east of Australia. It was previously administered by Australia but gained independence in 1968.
Deterring a ‘Method of protest’
Prosecutors had originally sought a two-month custodial sentence for Mr Nemati, arguing that such a sentence could be used as a deterrent, as reported in Australian media.
“We are concerned that this method of protest is being used and want to stamp out this practice,” prosecutors said.
The pair moved to Nibok Lodge in January, where Mr Nemati said his daughter would have more children to play with. But authorities said they were not authorised to live there, and moved to evict the pair on 21 January.
Mr Nemati became distressed when officers began removing his belongings, and attempted to take his own life. He was taken to hospital for medical treatment before being charged and subsequently detained for two weeks in February.
Old penal code
The law against attempted suicide in Nauru is based on the 1899 Queensland Criminal Code. But while Queensland has since repealed that particular law, attempted suicide remains illegal in Nauru.
Other existing offences under the code include witchcraft, sorcery and fortune-telling.
In early February, the High Court upheld Australia’s asylum policy as legal under the country’s constitution. The ruling paved the way for around 267 people, including 37 babies, to be deported to Nauru. Despite this, huge numbers of people have protested the establishment of “concentration camps” to hold asylum seekers, pointing out that it is not illegal to seek asylum in Australia, and urged the government – as a minimum move – to bring asylum seekers to the Australian mainland.
(BBC and others)
Wellthisiswhatithink says: Just another example of the breathtaking brutality of this detention regime, which is a shame to Australia, inhumane and unsustainable. Although in general Australia has a generous refugee resettlement program by world standards, the country is extremely wealthy and can definitely afford to do more. This type of thing is ruining our international reputation.