Hamed Shamshiripour 15f - The Weaponisation of Mental Suffering


The Weaponisation of Mental Suffering

A text based artwork by Angela Brennan which quotes an incident report from Nauru, it reads, "Redacted then said "Do I have to kill myself to go to Australia" 02 March 2015".[imagecaption] All We Can’t See: illustrating the Nauru Files, 2018. Artist: Angela Brennan. [/imagecaption]


The deaths of Omid Masoumali, Hamed Shamshiripour and Rajeev Rajendran illustrate how mental health is used as a weapon of deterrence. Their deaths advertise the psychological violence inherent to the offshore processing regime as a warning to others to give up and go home before they suffer the same fate. The intentionality of this form of killing is highlighted in the refusal of other men detained on the island to accept that the death of Hamed Shamshiripour was a death by his own hands. Several men articulated that they didn’t think it was a suicide case, while others highlighted the role of the Australian state in Hamed’s killing.

‘He’s been killed, as far we know, so that is not a suicide.’

Abdul Aziz

A study found that people detained offshore had among the highest rates of depressive and anxiety disorders of any surveyed population. Trauma expert Paul Stevenson, stated that he had never seen anything as bad as the treatment of asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru.

In February 2018 and March 2018 judges ordered the Department of Immigration to transfer a suicidal girl and suicidal boy from Nauru to Australia so they could receive specialist psychiatric care. Had the court not compelled the Department to provide these children with care, it is difficult to imagine what their plight might have been. The state-sanctioned instances of child abuse and failures of duty of care on Nauru make it clear that not even the most vulnerable will receive compassion and care as a matter of course.


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All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.