A refugee has died in his cell at Villawood Detention Centre.
A refugee has died in his cell at Villawood Detention Centre.

Refugee dies at Sydney detention centre

IMMIGRATION authorities have confirmed a refugee has died at a detention centre in Sydney's west.

The man, believed to be a 33-year-old from Sierra Leone, was discovered deceased in his cell at the facility in Villawood on Friday evening.

Paramedics were called at about 6.30pm, a police spokesperson said, but the death is not being treated as suspicious.

News of the man's death sparked tension in the centre, with his friends confronting officers, forcing security to intervene.

According to SBS reports, the man had received a visit from Australian Border Force officials just prior to his death, and was told he was about to be deported.

"This is a completely shocking and unnecessary death," Ian Rintoul, spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition, said in a statement last night.

"Musa should never have been in detention in the first place. His severe mental health problems have been known for years, yet he was kept in detention with no hope of getting well."

The 33-year-old man was found dead in his cell at Villawood Detention Centre on Friday evening. Picture: Jeremy Piper
The 33-year-old man was found dead in his cell at Villawood Detention Centre on Friday evening. Picture: Jeremy Piper

 

Mr Rintoul claims the man, who has spent three years in detention, had been released from hospital earlier this week and was on suicide watch.

"There are hundreds of people at-risk inside the mainland detention centres. We need an independent inquiry to find out why he was in detention, instead of getting the mental health care he needed in the community."

A spokesperson for Australian Border Force said the matter has been referred for investigation to several agencies, including the New South Wales Coroner.

"We express our condolences to the man's family and friends," the spokesperson said.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au



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