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Visiting Professor Behrouz Boochani has left Australia's offshore detention regime

The Kurdish writer, journalist and activist was detained by the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments for six years.

Birkbeck's visiting Professor at the School of Law, Behrouz Boochani

Behrouz Boochani, Visiting Professor at the School of Law has left Port Morseby after a six-year detention. Mr Boochani was originally detained at Manus Island in 2013 after he left his homeland of Iran on a boat to Christmas Island, he was moved to Port Moresby in the last two months.

Mr Boochani has won multiple awards for his documentation of life in the Australian offshore detention system and has constantly campaigned for the rights of fellow detainees on the island. Notably he wrote No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Picador, 2018) via WhatsApp on a mobile phone he kept hidden from the authorities. Throughout his time on the island Boochani witnessed the brutal treatment of his friends at the hands of the guards and saw many die through medical neglect and widespread metal anguish and suicide. He has worked tirelessly to expose the inhumane treatment of detainees of the island as a way to deter others from attempting to travel to Australia by boat. 

In September 2019, Birkbeck’s School of Law welcomed Boochani as a Visiting Professor. As part of his professorship, Mr Boochani’s published works have been included in undergraduate and postgraduate curricula. He will also participate in a research and public engagement symposia on the legality and the politics of immigration detention.  

Upon his release Mr Boochani tweeted: “I just arrived in New Zealand. So exciting to get freedom after more than six years. I have been invited by Word Festival in Christchurch and will participate in an event here. Thank you to all the friends who made this happen.”

Mr Boochani has a one-month visa in New Zealand and hopes to resettle in the US.

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