Villawood 17c - Recursive Seriality


Recursive Seriality: David Saunders

David Saunders was a British National who arrived in Australia in May 2010 on a tourist visa. At the time he was under investigation, but not charged, by UK police after allegations that he possessed and distributed child and adult pornography and that he had committed a sexual assault on a child. The latter charge was withdrawn. His tourist visa was due to expire on November 10 2010 and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) were advised by UK police of the allegations and his breach of bail. On November 11, David Saunders was apprehended on the basis that he was an ‘unlawful non-citizen’. He was detained in Blaxland (Stage One), the most high security compound at VIDC. He remained there for 25 days.

The Australian Human Rights Commission had called for the closure of the Blaxland compound in the years preceding the death of David Saunders. Concerns were expressed as early as 1999 and by 2008 the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) were citing their ‘repeated recommendations that it should be demolished’ and that ‘the atmosphere remains security-driven and prison-like’.

David Saunders was discovered hanging in a shower cubicle in Blaxland in the early hours of December 8. The ABC reported that the asylum seeker who discovered him also witnessed Ahmed Al-Akabi’s hanging.



The systemic deployment of standard operating procedures in these immigration detention prisons ensures the ‘recursive seriality’ or repetitive reproduction of deaths in custody.



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