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Greens Fear Irreparable Harm to Hunger Striker

Greens Fear Irreparable Harm to Hunger Striker in 50th Day

The Victorian Greens Spokesperson on Refugees, Peter Job, today expressed grave concern about the news that the Chinese immigration detainee and hunger striker Jen Wen Zhang had been taken to hospital.

“I visited Mr. Zhang last Wednesday, and he told me doctors had informed him that his hunger strike was now damaging his heart and kidneys,” Mr. Job said. “The medical advice I previously received that it would soon be too late to avoid irreparable damage to Mr. Zhang’s prospects for health and long life appear to be becoming a reality.

“Unfortunately, despite the efforts of myself and other to persuade Mr. Zhang to take other forms of protest, he continues to insist that he will not give up his hunger strike until he is released from detention and allowed to continue with his claims while living in the community.

“Under these extreme circumstances the minister has no choice but to act immediately and instruct her department to release Mr. Zhang a Bridging Visa E. To do anything else at this late stage will surely have tragic consequences.

“Is the minister so intransient that she will allow a man to come to permanent harm or even die before she acts?”

Mr. Job also discussed the reasons for Mr. Zhang’s hunger strike.

“Mr. Zhang is adamant that he was not given a fair hearing by either the Department of Immigration or the Refugee Review Tribunal. But mostly he fears long term detention, pointing to the mental health damage he has seen in so many long term detainees.”

“It is the abusive and deplorable system of long term detention that has led to this extremity,” Mr. Job said. “This government is responsible for this appalling policy, and it is on this government that responsibility will lie if this incident ends in tragedy.”


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