Melbourne holds vigil for Reza Berati 100 days on

Issue 
100 days since his murder in Australian custody on Manus but still no justice. Photo: Tony Iltis

About 100 people rallied in Melbourne to call for justice for Reza Berati on May 28, the 100 day anniversary of his murder on Manus Island.

The rally called for an independent investigation of the murder, for all offshore prisons to be closed and for immigration minister Scott Morrison to be sacked.

A message from Reza Berati's father was read to the rally. It said: "Reza, my son, always loved freedom and treated all people equally and like members of his family. Reza was full of hope and love and he left Iran to achieve his goals. He chose Australia because he thought your country was the right place.

“Before he left he told me that in your country all his dreams would come true, and he would have freedom and democracy. Contrary to what he thought, he was not welcomed in Australia, but forced to go to Manus Island.

“Whenever he phoned me from detention, he told me about the way they were treated: bad food and lack of medical supplies. I asked him to come back home many times but he didn't agree and said ‘The Australian people don't know what they are doing to us. As soon as they know about this we will be sent to Australia’.

“Despite of all the shortages, Reza believed that they had to tolerate and be patient although they had been through such hardship. Five months passed and I had to face the worst moment of my life: the loss of my son, with all his unfulfilled dreams.

“On the 17th of February he was murdered by brutal PNG police, Manus locals and Australian G4S. He was innocent and did not commit any crime and his murderers are free. I have lost my son and I want you, the Australian people, to bring those who killed my son to justice."

Chris Breen from the Refugee Action Collective pointed out that those responsible for the murder are still employed at the detention centre by Transfield.

Mohammed Ali Baqiri, a refugee formerly detained on Nauru said: "Our government wants to hide the crimes on Manus. The voices of people in offshore detention are being hidden. The government should be prioritising education and health, rather than funding unwanted detention centres."

[A World Refugee Day rally will be held on June 22 at 1.30pm in City Square, cnr Collins and Swanston Sts, Melbourne. Organised by Refugee Action Network.]