News National Manus Island detainee was ‘thrown from balcony’, killed

Manus Island detainee was ‘thrown from balcony’, killed

Manus Island
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Asylum seekers detained on Manus Island say Reza Berati was thrown off a balcony before being beaten to death.

Fresh allegations surrounding the death of the Iranian asylum seeker emerged on Friday during an inspection of the centre, organised as part of a court inquiry into last month’s violence.

While AAP – one of two Australian media organisations granted rare access to the Manus Island facility – was not permitted to interview asylum seekers, many spoke openly and shouted to the visiting party.

In one part of the facility known as Mike compound, transferees pointed to a black stairwell that snaked up between stacked, white shipping containers that served as four-man bedrooms.

“They hit him and he fell from here and they hit him till he died,” said one asylum seeker. “They hit him in the head until he died.”

They did not elaborate who hit Berati.

A number of other asylum seekers made the same claim.

Berati, 23, died on February 17 following violent clashes at the centre.

As part of the court order admitting media, no staff or asylum seekers can be identified.

Media were also shown two bullet holes on the side of one of the containers, and another in a support beam of a large, covered area. Later, while visiting a mess hall, one detainee said loudly the bullets came from an MP5 machine gun.

Inside the centre some asylum seekers held pictures of Berati. In an education facility in one compound, a discarded sign on a table read: “Deepest sympathy and condolences to the Reza family from the asylum seekers on Manus. He will be truly missed.”

Journalists were also shown evidence of the February 16 and 17 disturbances, which left 62 asylum seekers injured – one with gunshot wounds.

Panes of glass were missing from some sleeping areas, while in a dining hall some windows were still cracked. In one dining area there were few tables and chairs. The court officials were told there were fewer tables since the incident.

Staff said there were no tables in the dining area of Foxtrot compound “since the events of last month.”

PNG police have yet to make any arrests related to Berati’s death.