Two Iranian Asylum Seekers Bashed By PNG Police Back In Court

UN calls for investigation into alleged police brutality

By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 18, 2017) – Two Iranian men who were bashed by police in Papua New Guinea have returned to court after being arrested for a second time.

Police arrested Mehdi Bohlouli and Mohammad Rabani — who are housed at Australia's offshore detention centre on Manus Island — for failing to appear in court on January 11 on charges of being drunk and disorderly and resisting arrest.

The men were charged after being beaten by police during an incident on the island on New Year's Eve.

They went to the court twice after being bailed, but were told police were not ready to try their case.

They did not appear when the matter was eventually heard in the Manus Island District Court, and the magistrate issued a warrant for their arrest.

The men were due to appear in court again on January 18.

One of the men was being kept in police custody, while the second was sent back to the detention centre because he was ill.

Meanwhile, the United Nations in PNG has expressed concern at the treatment of both men and called for an investigation into the actions of police.

"If there are allegations of any kind of illegal force, or beating or whatever, that has to be investigated," said Kedar Poudyal, an advisor at the UN's Human Rights Office in Port Moresby.

"If there is any charge against any refugees, because they are vulnerable people, they should be provided with legal support and a speedy trial."

The Manus Province police commander, David Yapu, has previously said there will not be any investigation into the bashing of the asylum-seekers, because it was likely they had been injured while resisting arrest.

Mr Poudyal urged police to reconsider and investigate the officers involved.

"It's good for the police to conduct an investigation and tell people 'we have conducted an investigation and found out this'," he said.

"It's important for them as well."

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