Police: Refugee was moved, not arrested

Kurdish-Iranian journalist and refugee, Behrouz Boochani, was moved from Lombrum to the East Lorengau Transit Centre today. He was not arrested, says Manus police.

Reports of Boochani’s alleged arrest were shared on social media from refugees and asylum seekers at Lombrum, just before lunch today.

It was even reported by various international media organisations.   

However, Manus Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector David Yapu clarified with this newsroom that Boochani was taken by officials on a bus from the decommissioned site to the new site. 

He says Boochani was found hiding in a room and escorted into a bus.

Boochani posted on Facebook that police and immigration officers went into Delta compound at 6:30 this morning, ordering refugees and asylum seekers to move. 

He later tweeted at just after 3:30pm of his release. “I’ve just been released. They handcuffed me for more than two hours in a place behind the prison camp,” he said.  

Dramatic footage of the alleged raid was filmed by the refugees, which showed immigration officials telling them of essentials provided at East Lorengau Transit Centre.

Meanwhile, the Refugee Action Coalition will be staging a protest against the raid in Manus today at 5pm this afternoon in Sydney.

Boochani and over 300 more men refused to leave the closed centre on grounds the alternate facilities were not complete with water and electricity supply.

They were advised to stay put at the centre pending their appeal in the PNG Supreme Court.

(A picture by Walid Zazai showing Boochani being taken by police)

Sally Pokiton