PNG to seek return of Manus guards

PNG to seek return of Manus guards

Papua New Guinea will ask Prime Minister Tony Abbott to extradite three Australians who worked at the Manus Island immigration detention centre so they can face rape allegations.


Mr Abbott is due to arrive in the PNG capital on Wednesday night for the Pacific Islands Forum.

“We expect the rule of law to prevail,” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told reporters at Parliament House in Port Moresby.

“They must face up to the allegations and be tried under the normal rule of law in Papua New Guinea.”

Rape convictions carry the death sentence in PNG.

Three guards employed by Wilson Security were stood down and returned to Australia following an incident in mid-July.

The return of the accused men prompted anger among Manus Island police and locals, claiming they were sent back before a proper investigation was completed.

Detention centre operator Transfield Services reportedly told the victim’s family the trio would be returned to the island to face police questioning, after a relative hijacked a bus and truck belonging to the facility.

Mr O’Neill was unapologetic about PNG’s tough stance on rape.

“That’s our laws, we can’t break our laws,” he said.

He also expressed his general frustration with Australian expats evading PNG’s justice system with quick evacuations – citing the case of two Australian guards involved in a drink-driving car crash on the island a fortnight ago.

“How would you feel if we treated Papua New Guineans the same way when they cause offences in Australia?” he said.

“We have to respect each other’s laws.”

Meanwhile, Mr O’Neill said “good progress” was being made on resettlement arrangements for refugees on Manus Island, anticipating refugees will get proper resettlement before the end of the year.

At the moment they do not have work rights and are living in limbo at a high security transit centre.

“You must realise we have communities with 800 different languages and 1000 unique tribes, so it’s not as easy as one would think it is like settling them in metropolitan Melbourne or Sydney,” Mr O’Neil said.