London – Australian professor Lukman Thalib and his son Ismail Talib have been subjected to days of deliberate and intense ‘kerosene vapour’, causing acute nausea and a number of prisoners held alongside them to pass out. This follows unconfirmed reports that both Professor Thalib and his son, as well as three others, are being moved to a suspected deportation centre.

CAGE can also confirm that the family of Professor Thalib received a short phone call from him today, in which he confirmed their fears of his fast deteriorating health condition.

At 6:30am UK time in a call from Professor Thalib to his wife in Qatar, he communicated the following:

  • There had been no changes to his treatment in prison.

  • He has not been informed of anything about his case or his release.

  • His heart rate is slower than before and his blood pressure is extremely low.

  • During a medical check up a nurse told him he is at high risk of heart failure.

  • He is growing increasingly weaker and his weight has continued to drop.


At 9am UK time the family received a second call from one of the other prisoners being held along with Dr Thalib. He informed them that Dr Thalib, his son Ismail and three others had been removed from the detention facility they were being held at and were escorted onto a bus. Though it is unconfirmed, it is believed they were being sent to a deportation centre in Doha. Amongst the group are:

  1. Two Sri Lankan nationals who are at risk of torture and abuse if sent back to Sri Lanka. One is a relative of Dr Thalib who was detained due to his family relation.

  2. One Pakistani national.

Maryam Talib, daughter of Dr Thalib said:

“Our worst fears have come true today. Only yesterday during my interview with SBS [1], I was asked if I had fears for my father’s life. I said, as heartbreaking as the thought is for us, that it is something we could not rule out. This morning on a call at 9.30 Qatari local time, my father expressed concern that his heart is slowing. He told me that the nurse on call at the detention facility unintentionally confirmed that my father is at the beginning stages of heart failure.”

“They are slowly killing my father. He is an innocent man. This is the last straw for us as a family. I pray that the Australian government immediately heed our calls to secure the release of my father and brother and that any action they take will not be one made too late.”

Naila Ahmed, Casework Manager for CAGE said:

“As more evidence emerges of the suspected torture that Dr Thalib and his son have endured, questions must be asked of the Australian authorities and their failure to intervene before it reached this point.”

“According to other prisoners, the men were subjected to a nausea-inducing gas, a torture method used in Guanatanamo Bay to induce compliance [2]. They are in need of urgent medical attention.”




(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)