$23,000 per day, medical services not included

Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Western Australia 6312
Phone: 0417 090 130
Web: https://www.safecom.org.au/

$23,000 per day, medical services not included

Media Release
Thursday May 6 2004 - 9:00am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

"Medical care in detention centres is still substandard, and is not at all confined to a period in the past, when more boatpeople than ever before came to Australia, as former Immigration Minister Ruddock alleged on ABC's AM program this morning.

"Project SafeCom has been able to confirm with friends of Mr Aladdin Sisalem, who is being held at the Lombrun processing centre on Manus Island at a daily cost to the Australian taxpayer of $23,000, that he has not received any form of medical care for more than eight months, even while he has repeatedly requested to see a doctor - while he feels he has serious medical problems.

"Mr Sisalem has also reported that he is served just ONE meal per day in the last eight months, and he claims that these meals are of inferior quality, while he also suspects that the standard meals "of frozen chicken" are past the due-by date.

"The lone asylum seeker has also reported to advocates that his gums are bleeding every time he tries to eat - a symptom also associated with severe vitamin deficiency - and he has stopped eating. He also suffers from reoccurring stomach pains.

"Before the doctor 'was removed from the centre', according to Adelaide advocate Mr Matt Hamon, Mr Sisalem was assessed as suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Mr Hamon has written to the shadow immigration Minister Stephen Smith and Dr Carmen Lawrence.

"The Howard government is continually in breach of minimum standards of medical care, and is guilty of serious medical neglect. The fact that it contracts outside agents, in this case the International Organisation of Migration, for medical care of detainees does not put the blame away from their deliberate treatment of human beings as if they are worse than dogs.

For more information:

Mr Matt Hamon
[phone number posted]

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

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