The parents of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati, who died in 2014 after being brutally beaten in an Australian offshore detention centre, have commenced legal action over his death.
Mr Berati was aged 23 when he was beaten to death by guards and other local contractors in a violent rampage at the Manus Island detention centre that also left 77 other asylum seekers injured.
The Australian Senate committee inquiry into the February 2014 incident found the violence was ’eminently foreseeable’ and that the Australian Government had failed in its duty to protect Mr Berati from harm.
The Senate inquiry report specifically recommended that compensation be provided to Mr Berati’s family for his death. However, this recommendation was never followed.
In documents filed in the Victorian Supreme Court, Mr Berati’s parents Ita Torab Berati and Farideh Baralak are suing the Australian Government and security operator G4S for wrongful death and mental harm suffered as a result of their son’s murder.
It is thought to be the first time civil proceedings have been brought in Australia on behalf of the family of someone who has died in offshore detention.
Maurice Blackburn and the Human Rights Law Centre are representing the Berati family.
Statement from Torab Berati, Reza Berati’s father:
“Reza was our only son. He was an ethical and good person who cared about his family deeply. Our family is heartbroken and we have been suffering for so long with his death. We won’t recover from our loss. I do not want the human rights of my child to be ignored or forgotten by the world. I want the international community to protect the rights of my son. I want justice for my son. I don’t want his death to be insignificant.”
Keren Adams, Legal Director, Human Rights Law Centre:
“Reza Berati’s murder has become a symbol of both the brutality and impunity of the offshore detention system. He came to this country seeking safety and was killed by the very people meant to be protecting him. His parents have been left ignored and unheard, traumatised by their son’s murder. These proceedings can’t bring back their son, but they can ensure that those ultimately responsible for his death are finally forced to account for their actions.”
Jennifer Kanis, principal lawyer and head of the social justice practice at Maurice Blackburn:
“Reza Berati’s death should never have happened. The Australian Government and the security operator G4S failed in its duty of care to the people in offshore detention. It was their job to make sure staff were properly trained and the centre was properly equipped to deal with any outbreaks of violence. Their failure to protect these people in their care has led to the tragic death of Reza Berati, and caused devastating harm to his parents. It’s been seven years since his death, but his parents feel the pain of his absence every single day.”