Fifteen refugees sent to Australia from Nauru for medical treatment are becoming increasingly desperate after spending nearly a year detained in a Darwin hotel.
Seven women and eight men, couples and families, have been held at a fenced-off area at the Mercure Darwin Airport Resort since they touched down on February 27, 2020.
Their detention in Australia comes after years being held on Nauru as part of Australia's off-shore processing program.
They say they have not received the treatment which prompted their transfer to Australia.
Abbas Maghames, 33, lives in the hotel - which the government deems an 'alternative place of detention' - with his 35-year-old sister and his parents, who are 57 and 60.
"Really we are so frustrated," he told AAP, using a phone he bought in Nauru.
"Our heart so painful. Eight years finish. Please let us freedom ... We are so fatigued."
The family fled Iran believing their lives were in danger because they were members of the Arab minority in the city of Ahvaz.
They arrived in August 2013, shortly after the government ruled out resettlement in Australia for boat arrivals.
Over six-and-a-half "terrible" years on Nauru, Mr Maghames' mother developed cataracts impacting her long-distance vision, his father injured a shoulder and requires surgery and his sister has chronic back pain. Their mental health also suffered.
Last February, two months after the 'medevac' law was repealed, they were sent to Australia for medical treatment.
Guards initially told the family their detention would be temporary. But they are a month shy of their one-year anniversary in Australia, without receiving the treatment they need.
Hotels in Melbourne and Brisbane have also been labelled 'alternative places of detention' and used to detain scores of refugees transferred from Papua New Guinea and Nauru over the past two years.
But the Darwin hotel is unusual because it holds women and families rather than single men.
There are four family units: two families of four, a family of three, and two couples. All are Iranian, except one Sri Lankan couple.
After the seven women left Nauru, only one refugee woman remained, declining to be transferred to Australia.
One woman, aged 33 and who asked not to be named, was transferred to Darwin with her partner to receive treatment for a problem with her ovaries. She and her partner are Tamils from Sri Lanka.
The woman was told she would return to Nauru when the treatment finished. When she got to Australia, she was told her medical problem was not urgent and she could get it sorted when she was released.
"We are tired," she told AAP.
"We just stay in the room. But the room is too small, no window inside, too dark. Always we are sitting in the room, too headache."
The bunk beds are too small to comfortably sleep two people and the upper bunk is noisy, so the woman sleeps on the floor.
The woman said she lost her "young life" in Nauru, where she was sent as a 25-year-old. She wants to marry her partner, but will only do so once she's released. She would rather return to Nauru than stay in the Darwin conditions.
Ten single men from Nauru were detained in the hotel alongside the families last year but they have since been released into the community in Brisbane.
"That's not fair," the woman said. "I don't know what reason they are keeping us here."
"We don't like to be in detention more than eight years. For eight years the security guard look after us. We are like a child now," she said.
Mr Maghames says the refugees feel forgotten.
"Every day I see the ladies here, especially mum, my father, every day my sister, crying ... I say, 'be patient'. It's been eight years. Very hard," he said.
The Department of Home Affairs and Accor, which operates the hotel, did not respond to requests for comment.
The department has previously declined to comment on the cases of individual asylum seekers.
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Australian Associated Press
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