Journalist Behrouz Boochani, an ethnic Kurd, fled Iran after several of his colleagues were arrested in 2013, crossing south-east Asia and then sailing to Christmas Island. He was then transferred to Manus Island, where he has since been held.
With Australian journalists largely barred from Manus and Nauru, his articles for the Guardian and elsewhere bear graphic witness to life behind the wire. He has received an Amnesty International Award and he shot a film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time inside the Manus centre on a mobile phone, which has been shown at the London and Sydney film festivals.
“His courage over the four years of his internment in the face of the horror of Manus – a hell of repression, cruelty and violence – has been of the highest order,” said the Booker-prize-winning writer Richard Flanagan. “Behrouz Boochani kept on smuggling out his messages of despair in the hope we would listen. It’s time we did.”