Finger pointed at Australia over Manus Island murder witness

BARS AND WIRE: Security forces gather at the Manus Island detention centre during a hunger strike in January.
BARS AND WIRE: Security forces gather at the Manus Island detention centre during a hunger strike in January. REFUGEE ACTION Coalitionaap

UNITED Nations special rapporteur Juan Mendez has accused the Australian Government of not doing enough to protect a key witness to the murder of asylum seeker Reza Barati at the Manus Island detention centre.

Kurdish asylum seeker Benham Satah, who was a roommate of Mr Barati, told the ABC he faced daily intimidation from PNG guards.

"They want me dead," he said.

"They have increased their pressure every day since Reza died."

Earlier this year in a report to the UN's Human Rights Council, Mr Mendez detailed the alleged torture of Mr Satah and another Iranian man by local PNG guards, who reportedly threatened the pair with rape unless they retracted their sworn statements on Barati's death.

The Iranian man has returned to Iran, fearing for his safety.

Mr Mendez told the ABC he was not satisfied with the Australian Government's response to the torture allegations, which were made more than six months ago, and more should have been done to protect key witnesses to the Barati murder.

"It can still be done and I'm hoping that the Australian Government will decide to do so," he said.

PNG locals Joshua Kaluvia and Louie Efi have been charged with Mr Barati's murder.

Two expatriate workers have also been accused but have not been returned to the island to face charges.

Topics:  manus island murder united nations

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