Villawood 13b - The Infrastructure of Letting Die


Code Black: The Infrastructure of ‘letting die’

On 16 November 2010, at approximately 1:10am, Ahmed Al-Akabi was declared dead at the Liverpool Hospital after having been found hanging from a pipe in the shower area of a bathroom in Fowler compound shortly after midnight. SBS Lateline’s report ‘Breaking Point’ features a photo of the area. It appears little had changed since the photo taken in 1969.

Mr Al-Akabi was reportedly found by his friends who attempted to break the cord and get him down using a lighter. According to news reports one of the men who found him stated that Serco were ill-equipped and not adequately trained to respond appropriately. Further, he stated that the guards were not carrying a sharp instrument to cut him down.

‘That is almost purpose built for the purposes of death. That’s a very clear hanging point. That would be obvious to anyone who might have the wish to hang themselves. It is quite strong, which is obviously one factor that might lead someone to hang themselves from a point like that. From a basic safety point of view this is a very unsafe environment.’

Professor Louise Newman


A black and white photo depicts a woman and child inside the bathroom at the Villawood Migrant Hostel.

[imagecaption] NAA, A12111, Villawood Bathroom Facilities, 1969. [/imagecaption]



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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

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.