20 Oct 2015

Asylum seeker in Australia sets fire to himself - ABC

8:55 am on 20 October 2015

An asylum seeker in Australia has died after setting fire to himself during a video call with refugee advocates on Sunday, according to the ABC.

Afghan man Khodayar Amini, 30, doused himself in petrol before setting himself alight in Dandenong, Victoria, shortly before midday.

Advocate Sarah Ross told the ABC she and fellow Refugee Rights Action Network member Michelle Bui were on a video call with Mr Amini when he threatened to take his life.

Ms Ross said the pair tried to talk him down, but were unsuccessful.

"He then, on the video, poured petrol over himself and he then lit himself alight," she said.

"We called emergency services to try to find him."

Police later told them they had found a body in burnt parkland, but could not confirm the identity.

Man feared being deported

Ms Ross said she had spoken to Mr Amini previously while he was in Western Australia's Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre, but his mental health had deteriorated once released into the community.

She said he had become desperate out of fear of being deported.

"He was living out of his car in the past few days," she said.

"His housemate had apparently told him that the police had come to his house looking for him.

"His fear and his belief was that as soon as they found him that they would take him back into the detention centre. So he was basically hiding out from them."

Immigration officials confirmed the man's death.

A spokesman for the Australian Border Force said a coronial investigation would be carried out, and could not say whether he was due to be taken into custody.

"There has been a death of someone in the community, who was known to the department," he said.

In a statement, the Refugee Rights Action Network said that Mr Amini feared being taken back into immigration detention.

The group stated that another asylum seeker, Nasim Najafi from Hazara, died from a "suspected suicide" in Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre in July.

"There have been two confirmed suicides in Perth alone and one suspicious death," the statement said.

"All of these deaths were Hazara asylum seekers, either detained or on bridging visas."