By Edwin Fidelis – EM TV News, Kokopo
The accused responsible for the death of 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati in 2014 escaped from prison last week in Manus.
Joshua Kulivia, from Talasea District in the West New Britain province, was arrested in 2014 for hitting Reza Barati over the head with a piece of wood, that resulted in Barati’s death.
The incident happened in February 2014 during a violent riot at the Regional Processing and Detention Centre on Manus Island.
However, Kulivia has since escaped whilst waiting for his sentencing.
Manus police were not immediately informed until Monday this week, when Kulivia failed to appear in court to receive his sentencing.
National Court judge in Manus, Justice Nicholas Kiriwom, ordered the police and the Correctional Service (CS) to recapture Kulivia before April 18.
Manus Acting Provincial Police Commander, Senior Inspector David Yapu, expressed disappointment over how the Manus Correctional Service had handled Kulivia’s case.
Yapu said a combined manhunt operation will be initiated across Manus, that will comprise local communities, police and the CS team to recapture Kulivia.
Reza Barati’s death was one of the incidents that were brought to light revealing the struggles faced by asylum seekers at the Manus Detention Centre.
Barati’s death has since sparked condemnation from international humanitarian organisations, demanding the closure of the centre.