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Daniel Flitton, Maris Beck

May 16, 2012

BINTAN ISLAND, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 28, 2009. Sri Lanka assylum seekers still waiting on  Ocean Viking Vessel Australian Customs and Immigration Fisheries Patrol  borrow 78 Sri Lanka Assylum seekers on waters of Bintan Island, Indonesia October 28, 2009. (Photo by Yuli Seperi)Mental health threat … little prospect of resettlement and slow processing times are affecting the mental wellbeing of refugees. Photo: Yuli Seperi

REFUGEES with no prospect of being released or resettled after secret Australian Security Intelligence Organisation assessments branded them security threats have suffered a spate of suicide attempts inside detention centres

Two Tamils at a detention centre in Melbourne’s north given an adverse assessment by ASIO have attempted to take their lives in the past month – one of them twice.

A third man, Jasee, stood screaming with an electrical cord clutched in his hand late on Sunday at the spot his friend had swung by the neck until almost dead three nights before.

Jasee, one of 78 men rescued by the Australian customs vessel Oceanic Viking in 2009, had become distraught listening to a Mother’s Day special on radio.

A total of 47 people have been given adverse security assessments in Australia. They are caught in a legal limbo, not permitted to see evidence against them or to know the criteria used to make the assessment.

Though such cases make up fewer than 1 per cent of all people arriving by boat and seeking refuge in Australia since 2010, a surge in boat arrivals over recent weeks could lead to a rise in the number of adverse findings.

The latest determination by ASIO led to a Tamil woman, Ranjini, and her two children being taken into custody at Villawood detention centre last week after living in Melbourne for more than a year.

It is believed that ASIO had found Ranjini’s husband, now dead, was a driver for Tamil Tigers separatists.

The Melbourne lawyer Julian Burnside said there was no effective review of the ASIO assessments.

Questions on the asylum seekers with adverse assessments to the Immigration Minster, Chris Bowen, were referred to the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, who did not respond.

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