17 Aug 2006

Australia to accept ill Iraqi refugee held on Nauru report

3:18 pm on 17 August 2006

Reports from Australia say a mentally ill Iraqi refugee, who has been kept on Nauru for five years, is expected to be flown back to Australia at the weekend.

The newspaper, The Age, has been told by Nauruan officials that Muhammad Faisal, who has been placed on 24-hour watch because of suicide fears, will be flown to Australia at the weekend.

The Australian government has declined to confirm this, saying options are still being considered.

The government of Nauru also says Australia has sought authority to land a special chartered plane on Sunday, carrying 25 people.

Although the Nauru government has not been told, the group is expected to include eight asylum seekers who are suspected to have been dumped by people smugglers at Ashmore Reef last weekend.

The eight men, who claim to be from Burma and are thought to be aged between 24 and 40, were expected to arrive at Christmas Island last night.