Detained Afghans injure selves on purpose

Kyodo

Two Afghan men detained at a facility in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, tried to hurt themselves this week, their supporters said Thursday.

Mohammed Baqir, 28, tried to swallow a nail clipper but was stopped by detention-center officials. He is now being confined in an observation room, they said.

Baqir was denied refugee status by the Justice Ministry in April and has been detained since June. He has been ordered to leave the country. Baqir entered Japan illegally last October and later applied for refugee status.

Baqir’s supporters said he is suffering from an inflamed prostate as well as gastric pain, but he has not received proper medical treatment.

He is a member of Afghanistan’s Hazara minority, which was persecuted by the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime, according to his supporters.

Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz, 30, hurt himself with a pen on Wednesday, his lawyer said.

Aziz has been in detention since June. His prolonged detainment has made him psychologically unstable, the supporters said.

Aziz called his support group on Wednesday, telling them he tried to kill himself. Aziz said he thought he would be better off dead than continuing to live in detention, they said.

He was recognized as a refugee by the Hiroshima High Court on Sept. 20.

But as the Justice Ministry had earlier rejected his refugee application, Aziz was indicted on a charge of violating the immigration law.

The ministry has not overturned its earlier decision and continues to detain him.

Aziz is also an ethnic Hazara and a member of the Hezb-e Wahdat party, a Muslim Shiite group supporting the minority. He fought the majority Pashtun in a civil war before fleeing Afghanistan.

Aziz, who had previously been to Japan, decided to seek asylum in the country when he learned that the Taliban were pursuing him, according to the supporters.

He entered Japan at Fukuoka airport in June 2001, using a forged passport. He made a living procuring parts for used cars.