UK & World News

  • 26 May 2014, 14:27

Salvation Army Man 'Helped Kill Asylum Seeker'

A Salvation Army worker led an attack in which an Iranian man was "brutally beaten" to death during a riot at an immigration detention centre, according to an investigation.

Reza Barati, 23, suffered fatal head injuries during three days of violence which also left more than 60 other asylum seekers wounded at the Australian-run facility.

Authorities found Mr Barati was hit on the back of the head by the unnamed Papua New Guinea (PNG) national before others, including security staff, kicked him and dropped a rock on his skull.

No charges have yet been brought over the attack.

The unrest happened in February at the Manus Island camp in PNG amid inmate tensions about their fate under Australia's hardline policy on asylum seekers.

An independent review on behalf of the Canberra government found tensions had been building for days ahead of the riot and between 30 and 35 people escaped on February 16.

They were recaptured and one inmate had his throat slashed by a guard. He survived the attack.

The review found no particular factor caused the violence at the camp, which has been condemned as too harsh by the United Nations.

But it added there was frustration and anxiety among inmates over a lack of information about resettlement policies and dismay at being told they had no chance of living in Australia.

It claimed these were factors which contributed to the tensions.

There was also antagonism between some people in the camp and PNG nationals working there, with some asylum seekers treating them "in a disrespectful and racist manner".

Manus Island houses one of two remote Pacific camps used by Canberra in its offshore detention policy - the other is on Nauru.

Under the policy, any asylum seeker arriving by boat is transferred to the centres for processing.

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