By Joanna Menagh, ABC News
Posted Fri at 1:25pm, at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-03/perth-archbishop-calls-for-compassion-for-hunger-striker/6370296
Photo: Archbishop Timothy Costelloe called for compassion to be shown to the hunger striker. (ABC News)
The Catholic Archbishop of Perth has used his Good Friday message to ask for compassion to be shown to an Iranian asylum seeker who is near death in hospital.
Saeed Hassanloo has been on a hunger strike for about 40 days and it is feared he will not survive if he does not eat soon.
It is understood Mr Hassanloo’s claim for refugee status has been rejected and he fears persecution if he returns to Iran.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral is directly opposite Royal Perth Hospital where Mr Hassanloo is a patient.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said his thoughts and prayers were with Mr Hassanloo during today’s church service.
“I’m just hoping and praying the Government can find a way to allow compassion and generosity and an understanding of the desperation of this man to begin to be the foundational basis on which any decisions might be made,” he said.
“I’ve been very conscious of him throughout this morning’s service and been praying for him.”
“The position of the Church is always a position of compassion and a position about the dignity and the value of life.
“I certainly think we in Australia can be generous to people who are fleeing persecution and fleeing great difficulties in other countries.
“As a general principle I think to be generous, to be compassionate, to be open and to be welcoming is certainly part of Christian message but it’s so deeply embedded in the whole Australian way of thinking.”
Archbishop Costelloe said Mr Hassanloo should be assisted.
“I’m not fully aware of the ins and outs of this particular situation, all I know is there’s a young man over in the hospital, on a hunger strike desperate, probably close to death, and we need to think what we can do to assist him,” he said.