Australia tortures another women's rights supporter

Consistent with the Howard government's policy of torturing supporters of women's rights in the Australian Public Service, allegations have emerged in the Supreme Court of NSW of the torture of a refugee over support for the rights of women in Iran.

Parviz Yousefi is suing the Federal Government and private operators of the Woomera and Baxter detention centres claiming he is suffering major depression and possible brain injury following three years of detention while authorities ignored 15 reports from medical experts and psychiatrists describing severe illness and suicidal tendencies.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Adele Horin explains that Mr Yousefi, who "fled Iran in October 2000, due mainly to [his wife's] strongly held political views about women's rights, which put them both in danger ... stopped washing, shaving or changing clothes. He went on hunger strikes and sewed his lips together. He lost hope as others got visas, and he began to fear deportation. Several times he tried to hang himself, and was hospitalised."

"It is claimed he was suffering major depression, post-traumatic-stress disorder, paranoia and psychosis, and that the Government ignored pleas to treat his case as a 'medical and psychiatric emergency'."

Mr Yousefi's claim for compensation of more than $750,000 is one of the first of thousands which may be made against the Howard government, expected to culminate with the prosecution of the Prime Minister over the torture of 3899 children behind razor wire in detention centres.

Howard's ruthless suppression of women's rights places Australia increasingly on the side of the hardliners in the war on terror between moderates and extremists in the denial of women's rights.

The Federal Government's policy of torturing women's rights supporters became evident with attempts by managers of the Federal welfare agency Centrelink to intentionally injure an employee during negotiations over the Shared Behaviours provision of a workplace agreement, the employee claiming women's right to the recognition of behaviour different from men, prior to his summary dismissal without recourse to relief from the Courts.

August 18, 2005