'He cut his stomach open to prove it's empty': Iraqi refugee fears death in Aussie detention center
Australian immigration officials stress Mohammad Albederee receives all the medical care he needs to get through the malnutrition he assigned himself.
Albederee, 31, has been on hunger strike for over six months now over allegedly insufficient medical treatment for his kidney and shoulder problems he claims he sustained when detention center guards beat him last year.
“I feel I will lose my life very soon,” the 31-year-old said in a video obtained by the Australian Associated Press.
A video published over the web depicts a crying Albederee pleading for assistance. The apparently mentally unstable man says “I need help, I don’t want to die.”
In early October the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) cited Albederee as saying that the security at detention center injured him, “broke my shoulder, hurt me too much and me lost feeling,” the refugee said.
“[I had] some cut in my leg. I cannot move my leg, I cannot move my neck,” Albederee said, adding that due to the beating he cannot “keep anything inside stomach.”
According to Albederee, when his condition got worse, he tried to eat again, but his body was unable to retain anything.
"Vomiting anything. Drink water, vomit, tea, vomit," he said, "anything eat, I can't keep anything inside my stomach."
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection insists the medical care received by Albederee has been appropriate.
According to reports, in mid-June a malnourished Albederee was brought to Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, for additional medical inspection (X-rays and an MRI), where he remained in a hotel room for 12 days under watch instead of being kept in a hospital, the Guardian reports.
The Iraqi Embassy in Canberra has raised Albederee’s starvation case with the Australian Government, the ABC reported.
Doctors and asylum seeker advocates have raised the issue with both the department and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, but the asylum seeker’s lawyer Jeanie Walker said that did not help much, which increased her client’s desperation.
“He became really distressed so he cut his stomach open to prove there was nothing in it,” Walker said, adding that “we're dealing with someone who's very, very strong-willed.”
The Regional Processing Center on Manus Island, the largest of the Admiralty Islands archipelago, is north of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and belongs to that country. The center operates as part of Australia's ‘Pacific Solution’ policy to deter people smugglers, by agreement between Canberra and Port Moresby.