Kurdish Iranian Asylum Seeker Released After 6 Years of Detainment
“We didn’t do any wrong thing. And we don’t know why we are in prison.”
This journalist and asylum seeker was held in detention for six years—now he’s officially being released.
Behrouz Boochani arrived in New Zealand on November 14. He vowed to never return to Manus Island, where he had been imprisoned since 2013.
Manus island, located in Papua New Guinea, holds a large immigration processing facility. From 2013 to 2017, the Australian government turned away asylum seekers who traveled to Australia by boat and resettled them on the island. Approximately 1,500 asylum seekers were sent there.
As a Kurdish Iranian, Boochani arrived on Australia's Christmas Island in 2013 to seek asylum, but was sent to Manus Island. As a former journalist, Boochani started writing about his observations and life in the center through WhatsApp.
“We didn’t do any wrong thing. And we don’t know why we are in prison” he said. “It is a big torture. [The soldiers] attack us by gun. Which kind of—what’s our crime?”
His words were eventually turned into an award-winning book called “No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.”
New Zealand granted Boochani a month-long travel visa to attend a literary festival in the country. He says he plans to travel to the U.S. afterwards
“I just arrived in New Zealand,” he recently tweeted. “So exciting to get freedom after more than six years.”