The suicide of a man who was forcibly returned to China by Australian immigration authorities has prompted calls by refugee advocates for better treatment of people seeking protection visas.Link.
The man, known as Mr Zhang, was beaten and tortured when he was deported to China a year ago.
He spent almost a decade arguing his case for asylum, repeatedly telling Australian authorities he was at risk because of his involvement with pro-democracy groups in China.
His last two years were spent in Sydney's Villawood immigration detention centre.
But immigration advocates say that after being denied asylum on numerous occasions, in the end he lost hope and committed suicide.
When he spoke to the ABC's AM program just over a year ago Mr Zhang described how he was beaten up and tortured by Chinese police after being deported from Australia.
"And the two PSB (Public Safety Bureau) police men, they pushed me down on the ground, One PSB stamped on me and one, my hand, was broken, the left hand my middle finger," Mr Zhang said at the time through an interpreter.
Refugee advocate Frances Milne worked on Mr Zhang's case and kept in touch with him after he was deported.
"To find that he has now committed suicide to avoid further persecution and torture is very, very disappointing and upsetting," Ms Milne said.
She says numerous letters sent on Mr Zhang's behalf to both the present Immigration Minister, Senator Chris Evans, and his predecessor, Kevin Andrews, seem to have been ignored.
"If there is any decency in our government then having a policy of giving protection to people that we've wrongly determined not to be refugees is absolutely crucial. They must do it," she said.
Senator Evans says he will be seeking more information on the fate of Mr Zhang.
"It sounds quite tragic, but as to the circumstances as to what occurred on his return I have no information on that," he said.
"The immigration system relies on us being able to remove people who are not here legally if that's warranted.
"Clearly when we do that, it's under international law and on the understanding that they won't suffer persecution on their return.
"Any suggestion that someone has suffered persecution would be something that will be looked at quite seriously."
Stephen Blanks from the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties says Mr Zhang's case is a tragic example of how the system is flawed.
"He was removed from Australia in breach of Australia's obligations under the Convention Against Torture," he said.
"He immediately faced torture on his return to China and evidence of that was presented to the Australian Government and we have been pleading with the Australian Government to find a way to bring him back and there has just been inaction."
Mr Blanks says there has been improvement with the present Government but some areas need reform.
"Addressing the big issue policy issues like detention centres and TPVs (temporary protection visas) is only part of the story," he said.
"There must be wholesale change to the immigration system to give asylum seekers proper access to justice."
A spokesman for the Immigration Department says it regrets that Mr Zhang may have committed suicide but that it would not comment on details of his case.