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Asylum Seeker Found Dead After Escaping Christmas Island Detention Center

A Kurdish-Iranian refugee has been found dead on Christmas Island two days after he escaped from an immigration detention center.

The man is understood to be Fazel Chegeni, who was in his 30s. He escaped from the North West Point detention centre on Friday or Saturday, and his body was found in bushland on Sunday. The cause of death is not yet known.

Chegeni arrived in Australia by boat in 2010, and in 2013 he was determined to be a refugee. He spent time at Curtin detention center in Western Australia, where he was charged with involvement in an assault, and lived in the community in Melbourne. He was detained again by immigration authorities and taken to Wickham Point in Darwin, before being moved to Christmas Island about 10 weeks ago.

Friends told refugee advocates that Chegeni was suffering from serious mental health issues and had grown increasingly anxious about his detention. He had reportedly attempted suicide at least three times in recent weeks.

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection said Chegeni’s escape had been reported to federal police, who coordinated a search and discovered his body.

“Christmas Island detention center remains calm and support services are available to all detainees and staff,” the department said in a statement. “As this matter is now subject to a coronal inquiry, the department will not be commenting.”

A spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul, said Chegeni’s death was “another needless detention death, this time of a refugee who should never have been in detention.” Source: The Guardian

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