Mental Tribunal snubs Iranian representatives

Media release 14th March 2017 

“In a move that exposed the dishonesty of the forensic mental health system, the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal decided on March 10th to stall the repatriation of Mr. Saeed Dezfouli to Iran whilst it did more research into the Iranian mental health system and its adequacy. The decision demonstrates flagrant disrespect not only for the Iranian government, but also for Mr. Dezfouli’s family and the expert opinion of his care workers. In April 2016 the Tribunal stated that “we would do whatever we could…. To help get [Mr. Dezfouli] home” and emphasised that they desired a quick resolution to the issue. Now it realises that Saeed’s case and his mistreatment highlights the system’s endemic failure” said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.

“The Tribunal’s justification for postponing its decision for another six months is that additional research into treatment in Iran is required. This information could be easily ascertained in a phone call, and has already been supplied several times. The Tribunal would rather drag its feet trying to look responsible than accept its failure and allow him to be supported by his family in his homeland. This is shameful conduct at the highest level” said Mr. Collins.

“The latest Tribunal decision, chaired by President Richard Cogswell, starkly shows that its priorities lie with justifying their ineffective treatment of Mr. Dezfouli. His sole wish is to reunite with his sister and ailing mother in Iran. The hearing on Friday was the second time representatives of the Iranian consulate have travelled from Canberra to assist in Mr. Dezfouli’s case, only to have their competency questioned by the Tribunal. The Iranians have made clear their and Saeed’s family’s commitment and ability to provide community-based, rehabilitative support to Mr. Dezfouli. They are also providing travel documents” said Mr Collins.

“Saeed Dezfouli featured in the ABC program ‘The man without a name’. He challenged disrespect for his rights and exposed the system’s lack of accountability in three cases to the Supreme Court. Saeed, a gentle man, has been held for 15 years following an act punishable by 3 years. He remains in the highest security hospital costing taxpayers $300,000 a year. Mr. Dezfouli continues to be denied the opportunity to return to his homeland, instead being held indefinitely as not guilty due to mental illness” said Mr Collins.   

“During his ‘treatment’ Mr. Dezfouli has been forcibly medicated, trialling 9 different medications, causing side effects including diabetes and heart disease. In March 2014 the Tribunal recommended that he have access to a consumer worker and a computer. After those recommendations were ignored by the hospital, the then Tribunal President said he was ‘disappointed’ and that ‘sometimes the system needs a kicking’. Three years later Saeed still has neither and he continues to get the kicking” said Mr Collins.

I will renounce my Australian citizenship and return to Iran to escape the torture at the hands of these doctors. I am still shocked at the culture of abuse in Australia’s so-called health care. I feel sick in my stomach waiting for their poison to hit my brain. I have been physically and mentally tortured, sexually harassed and assaulted by prison officers and staff at mental health facilities. I have been used as a guinea pig by testing psychotic medications” said Mr. Dezfouli(see full statement here).

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