Deathscapes

Perpetual Insecurity 10b - Fazel Chegeni Inquest

Deathscapes

The Inquest

People gather outside Perth Coroner's Court with banners and paper cranes.

[imagecaption] Protest on opening day of Fazel Chegeni Nejad’s Coronial Inquest outside Central Law Courts, Whadjuk Nyoongar Country (Perth), 2018. Photo: Michelle Bui. [/imagecaption]

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While Reza Barati, a fellow Kurd, was brutally beaten to death on another remote island, Fazel was ‘killed slowly by the machinery of detention itself‘. In November 2015, Fazel escaped from the Detention Centre on Christmas Island. Two days later his body was found in bushland about 50m from the perimeter fence.

Fazel Chegeni Nejad’s death was subject to a Coronial Inquest held in Perth this year. At the time of Fazel’s death, he had spent 1477 days in immigration detention. Despite evidence from Department of Immigration Case Managers that he was on a ‘positive pathway’ there was no clear timeline or guarantee that Fazel would ever be released into the community.

The inquest principally focused on the period immediately prior to Fazel’s escape and death, repeatedly refusing to discuss more systemic issues. What it did highlight, however, is the banal machinery through which the system of immigration detention functions. As the unwieldy patchwork of bureaucratic processes and commercial considerations held by the Commonwealth and its private contractors – Serco and IHMS – were examined, it became apparent that Fazel was merely another body to be subjected to routine processes that paid merely pro-forma attention to his safety. The hearings revealed serious failings in the medical, security and oversight processes at Christmas Island detention centre. The Deathscapes team wrote daily dispatches on the inquest.

 

 


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