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Papua New Guinea: Manus Island asylum seekers ’bashed by PNG police’

Wednesday 4 January 2017, by siawi3


Manus Island asylum seekers ’bashed by PNG police’ released from custody

By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek

Updated Monday 2.01, 2017, at 4:55am

Asylum seekers on Manus Island say two Iranian men are being treated for injuries they received when they were beaten by police officers on New Year’s Eve.

Key points:
The men said they were beaten by up 10 officers
The men were charged with being drunk and disorderly and resisting arrest
Police and PNG authorities yet to respond to the allegations

The men were released after 36 hours in the cells at the Lorengau Police Station on the island, where they said they did not receive food, water or medical treatment.

They were eventually taken to the medical clinic inside the Manus Island detention centre.

Photos of the men show injuries to their faces, bodies and hands.

They told other asylum-seekers up to 10 police officers beat them after they were stopped by PNG immigration officials on their way into town.

Iranian asylum-seeker Benham Satah, who met the men on their release, said both were seriously injured.

"They are very injured," he said.

"One of them, his nose is probably broken.

"He says when he is urinating there is blood in his urination. The other one says his jaw is broken."

Mr Satah said the men were released on 400 Kina ($170) bail after being charged with being drunk and disorderly and resisting arrest.

He said both men denied the charges and said they had not been drinking on New Year’s Eve.

Police and PNG immigration authorities are yet to respond to the allegations.

Photo: The asylum seekers say they did not receive food, water or medical treatment while in custody. (Supplied: Benham Satah)

Dutton waiting for the ’full facts’

The Federal Government said it was not yet clear what triggered the incident.

But Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the advocates may be using the incident to attack the Government’s immigration policies.

A red large welt on the back of a man.
Photo: The Refugee Action Coalition said the men were severely bashed around the face, neck and back. (Supplied: Refugee Action Coalition )

Mr Dutton told Sydney radio station 2GB that he wanted to hear from the PNG police before commenting further.

"If people have had an interaction with the PNG police on a New Year’s Eve night, I would wait to see the full facts of that case before I’d make any comment to say that they were targeted because they were refugees or because they were part of the Manus Island population," he said.

"I think we’re better off to wait for the full facts instead of letting the refugee advocates try to use this to again attack the Government’s successful border protection policy."

A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration said the department was aware of an incident involving two asylum seekers, but that it was a matter for the PNG police force.

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition said the Australian Government should investigate the incident.

The incident follows the death of a Sudanese asylum seeker who collapsed at the Manus Island detention centre just before Christmas.

The ABC has sought responses from police on Manus Island and from Papua New Guinea’s Immigration service.



Manus Detainees Briefly Take Control Of Center After Death Of Refugee

Submitted by PIR Editor on Mon, 12/26/2016 - 15:55

Advocate says Sudanese man allegedly complained about ill-health for months before seizure

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 25, 2016) – Asylum seekers inside the Manus Island detention centre briefly took control of two compounds and expelled guards after the death of a Sudanese refugee who fell ill at the centre, Papua New Guinea police say.

Senior Sergeant Thomas Lelepo, who is stationed on Manus Island, said guards at the regional processing centre were forced out of the facility last night.

"There was a situation there ... over the death of a resident," he said.

Sergeant Lelepo said order had since been restored inside the detention centre.

Faysal Ishak Ahmed, 27, collapsed in the Oscar compound at the Manus detention centre on Thursday.

He was evacuated to Brisbane for urgent treatment on Friday, but died in hospital on Christmas Eve.

A Department of Immigration and Border Protection spokesperson said Mr Ahmed had suffered a seizure.

Mr Ahmed’s death had been referred to the Queensland coroner, but there were no suspicious circumstances, the spokesperson said.

However, detainees and the Refugee Action Coalition claimed the man was seriously ill for months and had made repeated requests for medical assistance before the emergency.

[PIR editor’s note: On December 26, 2016 Radio Australia reported that ’Australia must build and staff a hospital on Manus Island to prevent refugees from dying in the future, the Papua New Guinea politician who represents the island says. ... The processing centre on the island houses close to 900 refugees and the local MP Ronnie Knight said the situation there was increasingly tense.’"We really find it hard to believe that this is going on in this day and age in this country," he said.]

The department also confirmed an incident had occurred overnight inside the Manus detention centre.

"The department is aware of a disturbance involving a group of residents in the mess area of Manus RPC," the spokesperson said.

"The disturbance has now been resolved. There is minor property damage and no reported injuries."

Photos posted to Facebook by Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani, who is among the asylum seekers held on Manus Island, showed what appeared to be damage to a mess area inside one of the compounds.

"We just kicked out the Wilson security from Delta and Oscar detentions. This message is for the Government," Mr Boochani wrote.

"This system is designed to kill us one by one."

Another Manus detainee, Abdul Aziz Adam, 24, said Mr Ahmed had sought medical treatment from the clinic, run by International Health and Medical Services (IHMS), every few days for several months for various ailments including stomach upsets, high blood pressure, fevers and heart problems.

"[Mr Ahmed] said ’I don’t get to see the doctor, I always see the nurse and then the nurse tells me ’you don’t have anything’, but I feel I have a problem’," he said.

"I can’t hold my tears because how does this happen? Two days ago I spoke with him on the phone, now he end up dead.

"This system is designed to kill us one by one."

Mr Adam said he and about 60 asylum seekers signed a letter addressed to IHMS demanding better medical treatment for Mr Ahmed after he returned from the clinic earlier this month looking particularly crestfallen.

from Radio Australia