Fariborz 17b - 'The repetitive darkness of this life'


‘The repetitive darkness of this life’

Shortly before this case study was due to be published, we heard of the thirteenth death in offshore detention. Fariborz Karami was a 26 year old Kurdish man from Iran, who had been held in exile on Nauru with his Mother and younger brother for almost five years. He had recently married in the Nauru camp and also leaves behind a grieving wife.

Fariborz had a known history of torture and trauma in Iran. He was reportedly kidnapped and threatened with execution as a child and suffered from nightmares, depression and PTSD symptoms. His medical file documents multiple requests for appointments with mental health professionals and makes clear that he was grappling with suicide ideation for a prolonged period. Doctors and psychiatrists acknowledged the decline in his coping strategies, exacerbated by his indefinite detention. Fariborz disengaged with support services in early 2018 due to increasing frustration with IHMS and the fact that after almost five years there appeared to be no resolution to his family’s circumstances.


Fariborz’s mother, Fazileh, has been suffering gynaecological illness, causing severe and worsening incontinence, for more than three years. Since February 2017, doctors have been recommending that she needed to be transferred off Nauru for medical treatment. Despite her own worsening medical condition, she continued to advocate desperately for her sons. Following Fariborz’s death she wrote a letter in which she holds ABF accountable for her son’s death.

Fariborz’s younger brother was only 7 years old when the family arrived on Nauru, and is 12 years old at the time of his brother’s death. He witnessed the decline of his mother and brother and repeatedly attempted to advocate for his family to receive the care they needed.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre recently published a report entitledIn Poor Health: Health care in Australian immigration detention which documents several case studies of their clients held in closed detention or community detention onshore. The report exposes failures of the Australian government and its private contractor International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) to provide people in immigration detention with access to the urgent medical care and treatment they need. As several of the deaths on Manus and Nauru demonstrate, this denial of due care is consistent across  onshore and offshore detention sites, an archipelago of suffering and neglect.


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