20 Mar 2014

PNG court hears harrowing stories from Manus asylum seekers

8:06 am on 20 March 2014

An asylum seeker detained on Manus Island told a Papua New Guinea court yesterday he feared being killed, while another said transferees have to eat bread infested with worms.

The inquiry into whether asylum seekers' basic human rights are being tended to under the controversial border protection scheme also heard an "angry" Australia Immigration Minister Scott Morrison had told them to not even dream about going to Australia.

The inquiry, in its third day, has for the first time heard from asylum seekers detained at the centre.

One, a 22 year-old Somali man, told Justice David Cannings, who is heading the inquiry, he lived in a constant state of fear following a riot at the centre on February 17 which led to the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati.

Police have yet to make any arrests.

Earlier, a 25 year-old Iraqi asylum seeker told the court that in his six months at the Australian-commissioned detention centre, he often had to pull apart bread to get rid of worms.

Another, a 30 year-old Afghan man, said he had no complaints about the food and only felt safe when he could see G4S guards.

The man said he preferred Christmas Island to Manus as they could go out, go running, get exercise.

The hearings continue in Lorengau, the Manus Island capital.