News National Iranian asylum seeker found dead on Manus Island

Iranian asylum seeker found dead on Manus Island

An asylum seeker on Manus Island has been found dead as tensions rise at the Australia-run offshore processing centre. Photo: Behrouz Boochani
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An Iranian asylum seeker has been found dead on Manus Island in an apparent suicide.

A refugee found the 31-year-old on Monday morning near the transit centre at the Australian-run detention facility in northern Papua New Guinea.

He suffered mental health issues and had been missing since Saturday, refugees and advocates told The New Daily.

The New Daily has seen images purporting to show the man’s body with injuries to his face and head.

Refugee Amir Taghinia said many of the refugees did not believe it was suicide. He said the man’s mental health issues were well known but he had not been supported with appropriate medical care.

Behrouz Boochani, a journalist and refugee on Manus Island, wrote on Twitter: He was very sick for long time, but Australia did not provide medical treatment for him.”

Papua New Guinea authorities are investigating. Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson Ian Rintoul called for a “full and open” independent inquiry into the death.

Refugees on Manus have held daily protests after power, water and medical services were shutdown in one of the main compounds.

The refugees are being forced to move to East Lorengau Transit Centre in preparation for the centre’s closure on October 31 after the PNG Supreme Court deemed it illegal.

Protests did not go ahead on Monday out of respect. There will be a vigil for the Iranian asylum seeker on Monday night before refugees resume their protest on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed the death of the man, who had already moved to the transit centre at Lorengau.

“The department is aware of a death in Lorengau Township,” the spokesperson said. “PNG authorities are investigating the matter.

“Further questions should be directed to the government of PNG.”

He is the fifth man to have died on Manus Island since offshore processing began four years ago.

The Greens, Amnesty International, Doctors for Refugees, and Human Rights Law Centre on Monday all called for the refugees in offshore detention to be settled in Australia.

The Turnbull government has consistently said refugees held in offshore detention will never settle in Australia.

Rising tension with locals has resulted in a spate of violent attacks on refugees.

The New Daily has decided not to name the man until it’s clear his family has been informed. It’s understood his mother has not yet been notified.

Readers seeking support should phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, or MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.

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