Archive for August, 2009

The shocking death of Mr Ward

August 9, 2009

© AAP/Aleisha Preedy
What kind of government allows a person to be literally cooked to death in the searing heat of the Western Australian goldfields?
Well, that’s exactly what happened on a scorching summer’s day last year when Mr Ward, a respected Aboriginal community elder, died an unimaginable death as he was being unnecessarily and inhumanely transported more than 350km to Kalgoorlie jail.
Send your email to Attorney-General Robert McClelland urging him to prevent a recurrence of this human tragedy
The circumstances of Mr Ward’s death defy the imagination. After being arrested for allegedly drink-driving and locked in an overnight cell in Laverton, WA, the elder was driven four hours to Kalgoorlie in a van since deemed unfit for the purpose of transporting people over such long distances [1]
Please join us in calling on State and Federal governments to ensure such a situation never occurs anywhere in Australia again
Mr Ward, the youngest of seven children, was a well-known and respected community chairman, law-man, land manager and spokesperson. The condition of the van that contributed to his death makes stomach-churning reading: no natural airflow, broken air-conditioning, and a surface metal temperature of over 50°C.
After collapsing on the floor of the van, Mr Ward suffered serious burns when his skin came into contact with the metal surface. Leading up to the final moments of his life, his body temperature reached 41.7°C. Without a doubt, Mr Ward’s treatment is an affront to personal dignity and emblematic of a deep running disregard for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We can never allow a fellow human being to die in this way again – please call on our Government to honour Australia’s human rights obligations
Thank you for standing up for what’s right.
Sarah Marland and the project team
Demand Dignity Campaign
Amnesty International Australia


[1] Four Corners Program Transcript, ABCTV. Accessed 4.8.09. See the full Four Corners program online.

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