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Cover-up claim in Kiwi detention death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/07/2016

The mother of a New Zealander who died in a Sydney detention centre says she thinks his death was violent and authorities are trying to hide the truth.

Rob Peihopa, 42, died at the Serco-monitored Villawood Detention Centre in early April, and initial reports suggested he died of a heart attack.

He had served two years in prison for his part in a police chase and was fighting deportation at the end of his sentence, so he could stay close to family in Australia.

But a three-page report into his death obtained under information of freedom laws by Australia's ABC this week has had almost every line redacted, apart from describing a "medical emergency".

Mr Peihopa's mother, Hera, who says her son had been beaten before his death, told Radio NZ she thought the blacked-out report was part of a cover-up by the Immigration Department.

"The government wouldn't want to show how their private contractors are running these facilities. They wouldn't want to be shown up in a bad light," she said.

"I"m not confident in the investigating police here, in what they're going to hand in."

On earlier occasions she said when she saw his body he had bruising and injuries across his head.

The Australian Immigration Department says the report was redacted for safety reasons and also refused to release a post-incident review from Serco, according to the ABC.

An inquest is due to be held into the death, but no date has yet been set.

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