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Manus Asylum Center likened to life in jail

Staff Reporter 3/21/2014 | | |
A DETAINEE at the Manus Regional Processing Center has described living conditions there as like in a prison.
He said the 1,300 asylum seekers had also been told by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison that they would never set foot on Australia.
Iranian Martada Al-Hussainy, 26, told Justice David Cannings, through an interpreter at the National Court at Lorengau yesterday, that he felt like a homeless and State-less person who has no rights.
He was one of the four detainees to give evidence in court on the living conditions and the alleged breaches of human rights at the centre.
Cannings instigated an inquiry into the welfare of asylum seekers at the centre after media reports of violence resulting in the death of a detainee, poor living conditions and alleged abuse of human rights at the regional processing centre.
Al-Hussainy, giving evidence in Arabic, told the court that Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told him and the other detainees on his visit there that they would never set foot on Australia.
Al-Hussainy said there was no sun and no room to play sport in Delta compound, so people stayed in their rooms. He said he was employed as a bodyguard for a prominent person in Iraq and was forced to flee the country after he was threatened by a terrorist group. The second detainee to give evidence was Abdul Qadir, 22, from Somalia. 
He said he fled his country after an attempt on his life. He said his mother was killed in front of him. 
Qadir broke down after telling the court that he would like to die because of the kind of treatment they were receiving at the centre.
“I am not a criminal,” Qadir said. 
The third detainee to give evidence, from Iran, said the detainee who was killed during violence at the centre last month was his roommate.
He said that he had engaged a lawyer from Australia to help him because he did not want to disclose the identities of those involved in the violence last month out of fear.
He told Cannings that he and the other detainees did not feel safe at the center because they were afraid of being attacked by locals. The fourth detainee to give evidence was Barat Ali from Afghanistan. 
The four detainees gave oral evidence yesterday with the assistance of interpreters. 
The inquiry continues today with the court to determine whether a second visit to the centre is warranted.
Cannings who visited the centre on Tuesday said the atmosphere there was very tense.

ONE PNG / The National

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