Miriam Merten Lismore Hospital Death

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Miriam Merten Overview

Justice Action submitted a report to the NSW Health Department Inquiry after the death of Miriam Merten, mother of two and a mental health patient from Lismore Base Hospital. Miriam died on 3rd June 2014 from injuries sustained during her time in seclusion. The horrific nature of Miriam’s treatment was evidenced with shocking CCTV footage of her final hours, exposing the lack of care from the NSW Health Staff at Lismore Base Hospital along with their abject failure to intervene in her untimely death.

Ms Merten died in 2014 from a brain injury after she fell more than 20 times whilst in the care of the Mental Health Unit of Lismore Base Hospital. The coronial inquest into Ms Merten’s death found that Ms Merton died from a "traumatic brain injury caused by numerous falls and the self-beating of her head on various surfaces, the latter not done with the intention of taking her life". Disturbing CCTV footage of the neglected, blood and faeces splattered, Ms Merten wondering the corridors of the Lismore facility on the night of her death have emerged, and be viewed in this article.


parliament stairs group photo

 parliamentary inquiry 2

Kerry O'Malley media release 171017


Health Department Rejected

Media Release October 17, 2017

Mental health consumers have won another battle against the use of forced medication. After years of being subject to Community Treatment Orders (CTO), 71 year old Kerry O’Malley today won agreement from the Mental Health Review Tribunal to reject the CTO against her. A forced injection is the antithesis of health care disgracing all who say nothing.

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Kerry O'Malley - Forced Medication and Community Treatment Orders

The degrading treatment imposed on this gracious 71 year old woman Kerry O’Malley highlights all that is wrong with the mental health system. Over the last 47 years she has been arrested, abandoned to draconian control in a locked hospital and her rights to individual autonomy dismissed. She has been subjected many times to Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) and forcibly medicated with severe physical and social side effects. Only her sister Margaret and her church have stood beside her. Psychiatrist Dr Yola Lucire defended her against the forced medication despite the weight of the industry norms. Legal aid by the Mental Health Advocacy Service is thoroughly discredited as part of the system.

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About Saeed

“Free Saeed Dezfouli” Campaign



“I am a patient with patients’ rights, an inmate with inmates’ rights and a human being with human rights.

These rights have been fundamentally and severely violated by unprofessional and sadistic state government employees in the positions of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and prison officers. They are required to go by the law, regulations, policy and procedures, codes of conduct practice and ethics, but they don’t”

Saeed Dezfouli

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Iranian Embassy Concerned About Saeed

Iranian Embassy expresses concerns to Minister Dutton and Premier Berejiklian about Saeed's life, safety and future in Australia.

See letter from Consulate Section of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Hon Peter Dutton MP (Minister for Home Affairs) and The Hon Gladys Berejiklian (Premier of New South Wales).




Media Release: Saeed is refused computer and law access

Media release Wednesday May 16, 2018
As with Saeed Dezfouli, the callous disrespect exposed in Lismore Hospital to dying Miriam Merten will continue. Nothing in Health’s Implementation Plan will change the culture. There will be no ongoing objective accountability, no removal of legislative protections such as s.195 MH Act, no computers and phones in seclusion areas, no alternatives to forced treatment, and no independent consumer advocacy. The timetable shows no urgency for consumers getting on Committees and no structure for electing representatives. The endemic corruption of mental health, with noses in the NSW Health Department’s annual trough of $23 billion is disgraceful to all those who don’t demand structural changes after such an exposure.

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Iran tells Mental Tribunal: "Unfair"

Mr Saeed Dezfouli is a dual Iranian and Australian citizen who has been indefinitely detained in the clogged and inhuman mental health system of NSW since January 2002. He is protesting against being physically and mentally tortured, sexually harassed and assaulted by NSW prison officers and staff of Justice Health. In response, he renounced his Australian citizenship in August 2017 to repatriate to Iran, despite coming to Australia as a refugee in 1983.

Mr Dezfouli’s treating psychiatrist Dr. Sathish Dayalan and the President of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal Mr Richard Cogswell have set requirements in order to issue the repatriation order of Mr Dezfouli to Iran. The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to apprehend Mr Dezfouli on arrival in Iran and confine him to a secure mental health facility until released by due process of the law in Iran.

The Iranian embassy, in a letter to Richard Cogswell, has found this recommendation of the Mental Health Tribunal to be unlawful, unfair and concerning for the Iranian government to do this to its own citizen. Now, Mr Dezfouli remains indefinitely within the maximum security mental health system of NSW.

In his letter to Richard Cogswell, Mr Dezfouli has stated that, if by 1200 hours on the 7th of March, his unconditional repatriation order is not issued by the Tribunal, he will commence a dry hunger strike (nil by mouth) and refuse all of his cardiac medication, which will result in his death. Mr Dezfouli is asking for the support of all the kind people in NSW to contact the President of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal Mr Richard Cogswell and express their support and concern for him. We support his desperate plea for help.

Comments: Brett Collins 0438 705 003


Iranian Embassy Statements and Other Correspondence

Mental Tribunal snubs Iranian representatives

Media release 14th March 2017 

"In a move that exposed the dishonesty of the forensic mental health system, the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal decided on March 10th to stall the repatriation of Mr. Saeed Dezfouli to Iran whilst it did more research into the Iranian mental health system and its adequacy. The decision demonstrates flagrant disrespect not only for the Iranian government, but also for Mr. Dezfouli’s family and the expert opinion of his care workers. In April 2016 the Tribunal stated that “we would do whatever we could.... To help get [Mr. Dezfouli] home” and emphasised that they desired a quick resolution to the issue. Now it realises that Saeed’s case and his mistreatment highlights the system’s endemic failure" said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.

“The Tribunal’s justification for postponing its decision for another six months is that additional research into treatment in Iran is required. This information could be easily ascertained in a phone call, and has already been supplied several times. The Tribunal would rather drag its feet trying to look responsible than accept its failure and allow him to be supported by his family in his homeland. This is shameful conduct at the highest level” said Mr. Collins.

"The latest Tribunal decision, chaired by President Richard Cogswell, starkly shows that its priorities lie with justifying their ineffective treatment of Mr. Dezfouli. His sole wish is to reunite with his sister and ailing mother in Iran. The hearing on Friday was the second time representatives of the Iranian consulate have travelled from Canberra to assist in Mr. Dezfouli’s case, only to have their competency questioned by the Tribunal. The Iranians have made clear their and Saeed’s family’s commitment and ability to provide community-based, rehabilitative support to Mr. Dezfouli. They are also providing travel documents" said Mr Collins.

"Saeed Dezfouli featured in the ABC program ‘The man without a name’. He challenged disrespect for his rights and exposed the system’s lack of accountability in three cases to the Supreme Court. Saeed, a gentle man, has been held for 15 years following an act punishable by 3 years. He remains in the highest security hospital costing taxpayers $300,000 a yearMr. Dezfouli continues to be denied the opportunity to return to his homeland, instead being held indefinitely as not guilty due to mental illness" said Mr Collins.   

"During his ‘treatment’ Mr. Dezfouli has been forcibly medicated, trialling 9 different medications, causing side effects including diabetes and heart disease. In March 2014 the Tribunal recommended that he have access to a consumer worker and a computer. After those recommendations were ignored by the hospital, the then Tribunal President said he was ‘disappointed’ and that ‘sometimes the system needs a kicking’. Three years later Saeed still has neither and he continues to get the kicking" said Mr Collins.

I will renounce my Australian citizenship and return to Iran to escape the torture at the hands of these doctors. I am still shocked at the culture of abuse in Australia's so-called health care. I feel sick in my stomach waiting for their poison to hit my brain. I have been physically and mentally tortured, sexually harassed and assaulted by prison officers and staff at mental health facilities. I have been used as a guinea pig by testing psychotic medications" said Mr. Dezfouli (see full statement here).


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