Asylum seekers welcome Manus probe

Asylum seekers on Manus Island have welcomed news that the island's processing centre will be tested in Papua New Guinea's courts. In a letter to the opposition leader, Belden Namah, who initiated the court battle, the asylum seekers say the move is their ''only hope'' of freedom. ''We are asylum seekers, families with young children, and teenagers, not a group of criminals or smugglers'', they wrote. The letter was signed by 33 asylum seekers. Mr Namah launched proceedings on Friday in the National Court of Papua New Guinea, claiming the processing centre was the result of ''many abuses of PNG law and of ministerial powers''. While the announcement was greeted with scepticism on Monday by the Labor MP Mark Dreyfus, who said it ''smacks of politics'', the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, on Tuesday refused to comment on the case. Mr Namah said he had filed summons in the National Court on Friday, and planned to file an injunction for the release of those detained on Manus Island, and to prevent any more people being sent there.

Bianca Hall

This story Asylum seekers welcome Manus probe first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.