Villawood 4b - Precedents and Antecedents


Precedents and Antecedents

There are several documented, and likely many more undocumented, ‘involuntary removals’ that have proved fatal. Some of the known fatalities are:

Akram Al Masri, a Palestinian asylum seeker, deported in 2002 after having been detained at the Woomera and Port Augusta. In 2008 he was shot dead in Gaza. In 2002, Colombian, Alvaro Moralez, and Pakistani teenager Bilal Ahad were also reported dead after being returned from Australia.

According to ‘Deported to Danger II’ (2006), as many as nine men returned to Afghanistan from mandatory detention on Nauru may have been killed.

The same report confirms that  three children of returnees from Nauru were  killed after their house was bombed.

Zainullah Naseri, the first Hazara asylum seeker to be involuntarily deported to Kabul after having sought Australia’s protection, was subsequently kidnapped, held hostage by the Taliban and tortured for two days.


There are multiple instances of people attempting to resist deportation. On 10 December 2010, a woman scheduled for deportation from Villawood was brought to Sydney Airport. She cried, screamed, struggled and resisted and eventually the removal was aborted by the Immigration Department.

On 25 May 2011 Ziad Awad was scheduled to be deported to Syria. He was taken from Villawood Immigration Prison at 6:10am. He arrived at the Sydney Airport cell 55 minutes later. Here, he began to cut himself. He was not discovered doing so until 8:00am. Nevertheless, Serco considered that he was not in serious danger. He was still bleeding when he was carried onto the plane and handcuffed. As a result of his verbal protests and complaints, the pilot ordered him and the accompanying officers off of the plane. He was taken back to Villawood. The next morning, however, at 5:30am he was again forcibly removed from Villawood.

In more recent years, there have been instances where ‘removals’ have been delayed or prevented by protests from passengers who have refused to sit down until the person at risk is removed from the flight.



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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.