Behnam’s Story

My name is Behnam Satah. I am a Kurdish man from Iran who came to Australia by boat in search of safety, after July 19, 2013. At Christmas Island we were divided into two groups, one group went to Australia and the other group of people were exiled by force to Manus Island. Since that time, I have been held captive as a political prisoner in the Manus Camp, still I do not know when we will see freedom. On February 17, 2014 PNG local vigilantes stormed Mike compound and along with guards began attacking us. We were trying to escape the violence, many of us hid in our rooms and were pulled out from under our beds. Some people were slashed with machetes, gunshots were fired, someone even lost an eye. I will never forget that night, it was the night I witnessed the brutal murder of my friend and roommate, Reza Barati. Reza was in the phone room calling for help and when he came back, locals stopped him at our doorway and beat him to death. He was only 23 years old. Reza arrived on Christmas Island on 24 July, five days after the policy change that meant he could never be resettled in Australia. He had hoped for a safe life in Australia but was instead murdered by this cruel regime. There will never be justice for his death. They cannot bring Reza back to his family. After making a police statement, detailing my account of the violence that led to Reza’s murder, I was taken to the Chauka compound and tortured. Months later, during the hunger strike in January 2015, I was taken to the same jail that the men who murdered my best friend were detained in. Unlike them, I didn’t do anything wrong. I have faced intimidation, harassment and have received multiple death threats by guards. The friends and families of those I have testified against know who I am. I now suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder. Every day I feel I might be killed at any moment and there is no place to hide in or run to. Every road ends at fences here. I live in fear, sometimes I feel that I’m going crazy. I don’t normally sleep at night. PNG is not safe for me, I cannot stay here. To support the campaign to provide Behnam with protection see:


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