Strip search sparks stand-off between guards and asylum seekers on Manus Island

| June 17, 2015 | Reply

The forced strip search of an Iranian asylum seeker has sparked a tense stand-off between asylum seekers, Wilson’s guards and PNG police in Delta Compound on Manus Island around 6.00am this morning (Wednesday, 17 June).

The early morning raid forced all of the detainees in Delta Compound into one corner of the yard. The Wilson’s guards accompanied by the PNG police to give them legal cover, began turning over people’s rooms, throwing personal goods and bedding.

The search which went on for five hours and the asylum seekers were also subjected to personal searches. The asylum seekers say in a letter to Transfield that the search was ‘disrespectful and insulting’. (Photos of letter attached.)

When the guards forced a strip search and demanded that the Iranian submit to a body cavity search, things had gone too far.

The man writes,”I took my T shirt and shorts off, but they wanted to pull my underwear down, but I refused…”

This attempt angered the asylum seekers who surrounded the man and forced the guards to back off.

“Tensions are on the rise again inside the Manus detention centre,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “Wilson guards act with impunity. The guards do not wear identification tags and often use false names so they cannot be identified when asylum seekers want to make complaints.

“Management should have no problem identifying which guards were involved in the raid on Delta compound. But no-one is holding their breath expecting that any of the guards will be held to account.

“Transfield and Wilson’s seem to be very aware of the pending constitutional challenge to Manus Island and the scrutiny over human rights abuses that will fall on them in the trial.

“Around 200 asylum seekers who have so far refused to make a refugee claim in PNG are being pressured to make their claims with threats of removing access to phone and internet and the canteen along with threats they will be summarily deported.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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