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Man dies at detention centre where New Zealanders are on hunger protest


Some are now entering their 12th day with little or no food.

Australian authorities deny there is a mass hunger strike taking place.

RNZ approached the office of Immigration Minister David Coleman on Tuesday for comment, but is yet to receive a reply.

Earlier this week, Robin Leota told RNZ that the hunger protest was starting to take a toll.

"I'm a bit depleted, tired. Especially with this heat; it's getting to be 45 degrees Celsius out here."

Mr Leota, who's originally from Mangere in South Auckland, served a two-year prison sentence for drug-related offending and was subsequently sent to the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre on the outskirts of Perth.

His wife and children are in Brisbane and he said they could not just pack up and go back to New Zealand.

He has not been able to see them since April last year, when he was sent the 4300km to Western Australia.

"This is double jeopardy. We've already done our time in jail and now we're being put into a detention centre without a release date.

"Some people haven't even done a crime and they're in there."

He had been drinking some milk and having one protein shake a day but no solid food.

"It's just starting to take a toll being away from our families and stuff. Like, they're moving us into the middle of the desert up here in Perth. I'm from Brisbane but we've got people from Sydney in here, from Melbourne," Mr Leota said.

"They're systematically separating us from our families so we can't get any visits."

The detainees' list of grievances included what they call the unaccountable use of force by security officials; the arbitrary nature of their punishment; and the apparently indefinite powers of the government to keep them locked up.

There are about 350 detainees at the Yongah Hill facility, about 50 of whom are New Zealanders.

About 400 people are being held at the Sydney detention centre and 100 at each of the Melbourne and Brisbane facilities.

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