Refugee who set self on fire dies in Australian hospital

An Iranian asylum-seeker who set himself on fire in an Australian offshore detention centre this week has died in hospital, officials said Friday.

The 23-year-old man, whose name has not been officially released, was airlifted to Brisbane on Thursday with third-degree burns on most of his torso. He died Friday afternoon, the Immigration Department said.

The death comes as Australia's policy of detaining illegal migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees at offshore centres in Nauru and in Papua New Guinea comes under renewed scrutiny following PNG's decision to close the camp on its territory.

The Iranian man made the dramatic gesture Wednesday to protest his three-year detention in Nauru as three United Nations officials were visiting.

The self-immolation was captured on phone camera and a video was posted online.

“Appropriate support is being provided to his wife and friends. The department expresses its sympathies to his wife, family and friends,” the Immigration Department said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said 850 migrants in Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island detention centre will never be allowed into Australia despite the decision to close the camp.

Turnbull, who earlier warned against being "misty-eyed” over the detention policy, also cautioned against offering Manus inmates settlement in New Zealand.

New Zealand has offered to take 150 of the male refugees from Manus, but Turnbull said they would only use that as a staging post to eventually enter Australia.

“I want to be crystal clear on this: those people at Manus will not come to Australia. Full stop,” Turnbull told a Melbourne radio station.

Turnbull said he was in talks with the PNG government over the future of the Manus Island centre.

PNG said it would close the Manus Island detention centre after its Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional.

Last update: Fri, 29/04/2016 - 10:39
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