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Send his body home: dead detainee's family

AAP logoAAP 27/12/2016

The devastated family of a Sudanese refugee who died after falling ill while in detention on Manus Island are demanding the Australian government return his body.

Faysal Ishak Ahmed, 27, died at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital on Saturday after being airlifted the day before from Manus Island in Papua New Guinea where he had apparently been ill for more than six months.

Refugee advocates have been in contact with Mr Ahmed's family, who have spent three days of mourning in Sudan.

"They want him back, they made that very clear," Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told AAP on Tuesday.

"They have spoken with the Sudanese community in Australia and on Manus and want them to do everything they can in terms of justice for Faysal.

"They are very shocked."

Mr Rintoul said Mr Ahmed's family was yet to be contacted by the Immigration Department about his death.

Comment was being sought from the department, whose only remarks so far about Mr Ahmed have been that he died from injuries suffered following a fall and seizure at Manus.

His death sparked calls for the federal government to hold a royal commission into medical care at Australia's offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

Fellow detainees on Manus reportedly held non-violent protests at the centre on Saturday night in a bid to get answers about Mr Ahmed's death.

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan was reluctant to comment when he fronted the media in Melbourne on Tuesday.

"I'm not going to make an observation with respect to that case, I understand that the department (of immigration) made a comment it would be referred to the Queensland coroner and I don't think any further comment is appropriate at this time," he told reporters.

Mr Ahmed had been held in detention on Manus since 2013.

Fellow detainees have claimed he suffered seizures, heart problems and headaches for weeks but was not treated by the centre's medical staff.

"Many times Faysal collapsed and all of us here knew that he was seriously sick for more than six months," refugee Behrouz Boochani wrote in a statement released immediately after Mr Ahmed's death.

"Every day Faysal went to medical asking for help. They did not help him."

His death follows that of Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazei who died from septicaemia at at Brisbane's Mater Hospital in September 2014, two weeks after initially being treated for a cut foot on Manus.

An inquest into his death has heard Mr Kehazaei was denied hospital treatment that might have saved his life because of visa issues and that medical facilities on Manus were inadequate.

Bangladeshi asylum seeker Rakib Khan also died from a heart attack in May while waiting for an air ambulance transfer from a Nauru hospital to Australia.

Acting leader Chris Bowen later offered the opposition's condolences to Mr Ahmed's family and supporters.

"We would hope and encourage the government to provide every possible bit of information to the Australian people as soon as possible," he told reporters in Sydney.

The Immigration Department declined to comment on the request by Mr Ahmed's family to return his body to them in Sudan.

However a spokesperson downplayed claims that the department had not yet contacted the family.

"Claims by advocates that the department failed to contact the man's family are both unhelpful and untrue," a spokesperson said.

"As the department has stated this has been referred to the coroner and we will not be commenting further."

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