Detainee dies at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre hours before his deportation to Fiji .
IMMIGRATION authorities are investigating the death of a detainee at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre, who refugee advocates say leapt from a roof.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the 36-year-old Fijian national had been held in Villawood since August 17.
He was named by Fiji democracy activists as Josefa Rauluni, who they said feared he would be persecuted if returned to Fiji.
Refugee advocate Sara Nathan said the man was due to be deported to Fiji today, and this morning had climbed on a roof at the detention centre, in Sydney’s west.
“He was given deportation papers this morning,” Ms Nathan said.
“About 15 minutes before he was due to be handcuffed, he climbed the building where he pleaded to be allowed to stay in Australia, even if it is in detention, as he feared persecution if he returned.”
Immigration authorities described the incident as an “unexpected death”.
“Detention centre police are investigating the sudden death of a 36-year-old detainee at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre at about 10am today,” a departmental spokesman said.
“The department extends its sympathies to the man’s family.”
President of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement, Usaia Peter Waqatairewa, said Mr Rauluni had telephoned him prior to his death, pleading for his deportation to be stalled.
“He pleaded with me to tell them he does not want to go back and would rather die. He again stressed that all he wanted was to be allowed to stay here until a change of government in Fiji and democracy is again restored,” Mr Waqatairewa said.
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