France protests death of national, 74,in Australian custody

9th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

SYDNEY, Sept 9 (AFP) - French diplomats said Thursday they were demanding an explanation from Australia after a elderly French national died following five months in custody at a Sydney detention centre.

SYDNEY, Sept 9 (AFP) - French diplomats said Thursday they were demanding an explanation from Australia after a elderly French national died following five months in custody at a Sydney detention centre.  

The French embassy had not been informed of the detention of Marc Thao, 74, although he had been held as an illegal immigrant at Sydney's Villawood detention centre since March.  

Thao, born in Laos in the capital Vientiane, had arrived in Australia in 1999 from neighbouring New Caledonia, a French territory. He was visiting his stepdaughter and stayed beyond the permitted three-month period.  

He was arrested in March after police arrived to investigate a domestic incident where he was staying. On August 29 he died of a brain haemorrhage at a city hospital.  

An embassy spokesman said an official explanation was being sought from Australia's Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), which oversees visas and handles illegal immigrants.  

"We are concerned because nobody from DIMIA called us for five months," an embassy spokesman said. "We are expecting an answer from DIMIA."  

Australia's detention centres for illegal immigrants have been widely criticised as inhumane and have become the centre of international focus since a crackdown on asylum seekers in 2001.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article