24th October 07:41 PM
Iranian man seeks refugee status in Fiji
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 31/01/2017
Loghman Sawari (Photo: theguardian).

The Immigration Department is yet to comment on how they will handle the issue regarding a young Iranian refugee who fled to Fiji from Papua New Guinea.

The Iranian refugee who was held on Manus Island for more than three years fled to Fiji, and he is seeking asylum on the grounds he fears persecution if he goes back to Papua New Guinea.

Loghman Sawari has told The Age that this is the end for him.

His time in PNG has been punctuated by beatings, bullying, imprisonment, illness, suicide attempts and living on the street in Lae.

The 21‑year‑old Ahwazi Arab managed to board a plane under a false name after he said he was threatened by a PNG immigration official and lost hope of being resettled in the United States under President Donald Trump.

We are awaiting answers from the Immigration Department on how the Iranian arrived in Nadi under a false name.

It is the first case where a refugee who sought asylum from Australia is claiming to be fleeing persecution by a country connected to the Australian government’s "stop the boats" policy.

Sawari told Fairfax Media he had collected money for the airfare from several sources over several months.

Broke and destitute, he has been given refuge by a Fijian family in Nadi and is planning to present himself to Fiji immigration officials tomorrow to seek protection.

UNHCR officials are understood to be aware of his situation, which poses legal and diplomatic challenges for the countries involved.

Fiji, PNG and Australia are all signatories to the refugee convention.

We have also sent questions to Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He is yet to comment.

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