quarta-feira, 12 de setembro de 2012

Refugees lose a fiery champion

Vikkey Riley - Photo, ntnews.com.au
ntnews.com.au - CONOR BYRNE and DAVID WOOD - | September 11th, 2012

AN advocate for asylum seekers killed while riding her bike on a busy Darwin road was on her way to visit detainees when the fatal crash happened.

Vikki Riley, 49, was known for her fiery passion for refugees and her strong Catholic belief.

She left behind St Paul's School student Elijah, 7, and her partner Jimmy Hatton, also aged 49.

Mr Hatton said Ms Riley nearly spent more time at detention centres than at their Nightcliff home.

"And I had a lot of hate for the detainees because of that," the panelbeater said.

"But now I don't - I have love for them because of her. "I want the detainees freed from the detention centres."

Ms Riley died from head injuries at the Royal Darwin Hospital yesterday.

She was knocked off her pushbike when she collided with a Hyundai Getz hire car on McMillans Rd, Jingili, about 12.40pm on Sunday.

Police said Ms Riley, who was not wearing a helmet, was crossing the road and may have been travelling against the traffic flow when she was struck.

They said the 42-year-old male driver from interstate was uninjured but shaken.

Ms Riley was a pensioner, an artist and had worked as a journalist for ABC Victoria and the Kabul Press.

"She wasn't a very strong person but her brain was the most powerful thing she had," Mr Hatton said.

"Vikki put up a big fight and a lot of detainees loved her. I would love to see most of them at her funeral.

"She was fighting a war. I don't want her to have died in vain. I want to see some progress. I want everyone to know the things she did."

Ms Riley and Mr Hatton came to the Territory nine years ago.

She was adopted from hospital by Aboriginal parents in Kallista, Victoria. "That's what made her unique," Mr Hatton said.

"She was a freedom fighter. She was trying to liberate everyone and free the detainees," he said.

"These people sacrifice their life for freedom and they get locked up in jail.

"I want her to be known as a person that went out there and did something and helped people."

Ms Riley had just organised a successful detainee art exhibition at the NT Supreme Court last month.

She had two half-sisters in NSW, Kaylib and Karen Fogerty.

The NT road toll now stands at 35 fatalities.

Anyone with any information is urged to phone the police on 131 444.

Note: Goodbye my dear friend. Timor-Leste, Australia and the world lost a friend and a fantastic and a caring human being. You were truly one of a kind, Vikki. Just some weeks ago you were there for me, when I most needed... I will miss you and our Facebook's chats.You and your great work with the refugees and as a Human Rights advocate will be your extraordinary legacy to all of us. THANK YOU!
R.I.P Vikki Riley. Lisa Fernandes

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