Pacific Islands Report
Submitted by PIR Editor
on Sun, 01/01/2017 - 10:42
Radio New Zealand International
Advocate: ’status determination process was a sham’ since Ali was too ill to be able to take part in the interviews and was unable to fully explain his trauma to the authorities’
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, December 30, 2016) – An award-winning cartoonist being held on Manus Island has been told he must return to Iran despite severe mental illness.
The Guardian reports that Ali, an Iranian asylum-seeker who goes by the pen name Eaten Fish, has had his refugee claim rejected and been told he must return to Iran, despite severe mental illness and Iran refusing to accept asylum seekers who are forcibly repatriated.
In a letter dated 17 October, Papua New Guinea’s minister for foreign affairs and immigration told 25-year-old Ali, who goes by the pen name Eaten Fish, that a final decision had been made to reject his application for refugee status.
The Guardian said the letter informed Ali he was now in the country unlawfully and would be detained indefinitely - until he either left voluntarily or was forcibly removed.
Janet Galbraith, an Australian poet and and human rights worker who advocates for Ali, told The Guardian the status determination process was a sham, since Ali was too ill to be able to take part in the interviews and was unable to fully explain his trauma to the authorities.
Galbraith said Ali suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and severe obsessive compulsive disorder that causes him to wash himself until he bleeds and that his anxiety is so severe he sometimes collapses.
She also added Ali cannot speak publicly about his reasons for seeking asylum for fear that his family in Iran will suffer retribution and the negative assessment needs to be overturned, since the process was not fair.
A spokesman for the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection told the Guardian processing asylum claims in PNG is a matter for the PNG government.