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Australia detains Tamil asylum seeker with mental health concerns

The family of a mentally ill Tamil asylum seeker being held at Villa Wood Detention centre in Australia, New South Wales, are calling for an urgent review of his case, reported ABC news.

The asylum seeker, Pradeep, fled to Australia by boat, having been aassaulted by the Sri Lankan army.

Professionals believe his mental health concerns, including severe psychosis, were as a result of the assault.

The asylum seeker’s lawyer, George Newhouse, outlined that his client’s psychological illness was due to the bashing he received in Sri Lanka, which resulted in a 1 month coma. Describing the situation as "extremely complex", Newhouse said,

“Although he’s been found to be a legitimate refugee, the adverse security ruling means that he cannot be released, ever. So here you have a man that’s incredibly sick. He needs urgent treatment. The doctors are saying he’s getting sicker in detention. And yet there’s no opportunity for him to be released.”

Pradeep’s brother, who is also in detention, pleaded for medicine and a better life, asking to be killed if this was not possible.

Newhouse went on to express concerns about the abandonment by the mental health system in New South Wales, as well as the health providers in the detention centre. Describing the lack of action by these systems, he said,

“Everyone has been extremely dismissive about our calls for urgent, assertive health care. He’s just not getting any decent mental health care in detention.

Addressing the calls for release, the Immigration Minister assured that detainees are treated humanely and have access to appropriate health and mental care. The New South Wales Health organisation refused to comment on the situation due to patient confidentiality.