Police investigating as refugee found dead on Manus Island

An asylum seeker has been found dead on Manus Island, near a primary school in East Lorengau, local police have confirmed.


Asylum seekers gathered to protest against leaving the Manus Island facility on Friday. Source: Twitter

An Iranian asylum seeker due for resettlement in Papua New Guinea has died on Manus Island, police have confirmed to SBS World News.

The man's body was found in bushland near a primary school.

Manus Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector David Yapu said details were still being determined but he ruled out murder.

"It was suicide," he told SBS World News.

Mr Yapu speculated that school children may have found the body.

But Iranian-Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani said conflicting reports were being received about the cause of death.

“It is very suspicious,” he told SBS World News.

“I think someone killed him; someone say he [killed] himself.”

Mr Boochani said the man suffered severe mental health issues for a long period of time. He was staying at a transit centre for refugees due to be resettled in PNG.

“He got crazy in detention, he got very sick,” Mr Boochani said.

Refugees had signed a letter saying the man required urgent medical attention, but nothing was done, Mr Boochani said, adding the man had family in Iran.

Mr Boochani said PNG was too dangerous for refugees.

“The people can’t sleep well because of the situation. It’s very critical anytime, they are ready to attack us,” he said.

A spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection told SBS World News in a statement it was "aware of a death in Lorengau Township".

"PNG authorities are investigating the matter," the spokesperson said.

"Further questions should be directed to the Government of PNG."

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

2 min read
Published 7 August 2017 at 1:13pm
By Rashida Yosufzai