Family sues Australian Government for death of asylum seeker son on Manus Island

Family sues Australian Government for death of son on Manus Island

The parents of an Iranian asylum seeker murdered on Manus Island has launched legal proceedings against the Australian Government. The family has also launched proceedings against the security firm G4S.

In 2014, 23-year-old Reza Berati was beaten to death by guards during a riot at the controversial immigration detention centre.

Seventy-seven other asylum seekers were left injured.

Government failed in its duty of care to asylum seeker

Reza Berati (23) was beaten to death by guards on Manus Island in 2014

A Senate inquiry later determined that the Government failed in its duty of care to protect Mr Berati from violence that was “eminently foreseeable”. Consequently it recommended that the Government pay his family compensation. However, the Government never paid any compensation.

Lawyers have filed court documents in the Victorian Supreme Court. In those, the parents stated that they suffered mental harm as a result of their son’s murder.

Ita Torab Berati and Farideh Baralak made a statement to media.

“Reza was our only son. He was an ethical and good person who cared about his family deeply. Our family is heartbroken and we have been suffering for so long with his death. We won’t recover from our loss,” Ita Torab Berati said.

“I do not want the human rights of my child to be ignored or forgotten by the world. I want the international community to protect the rights of my son. I want justice for my son. I don’t want his death to be insignificant.”

A unique case from offshore detention, the first of its kind

The legal action is thought to be the first case filed in Australian on behalf of the family of someone who has died in offshore detention.

The case alleges that the negligence of the Government and G4s directly caused the death of Mr Berati.

Lawyers for the parents stated that death should never have occurred.

“The Australian Government and the security operator G4S failed in its duty of care to the people in offshore detention,” they said.

“It was [their] job to make sure staff were properly trained and the centre was properly equipped to deal with any outbreaks of violence.”

Keren Adams, legal director at the Human Rights Law Centre, said that Mr Berarti’s parents “have been left ignored and unheard, traumatised by their son’s murder”.

“Reza Berati’s murder has become a symbol of both the brutality and impunity of the offshore detention system. He came to this country seeking safety and was killed by the very people meant to be protecting him,” she said.

“These proceedings can’t bring back their son, but they can ensure that those ultimately responsible for his death are finally forced to account for their actions.”

In response, in a statement, the Department of Home Affairs said it would not comment on matters before the court.

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