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Behrouz Boochani



Kurdish-Iranian journalist and human rights advocate, Behrouz Boochani, has been held in an offshore Australian immigration detention centre since he was picked up by the Australian Navy in July 2013. Having worked for several Iranian newspapers including Kasbokar Weekly, Khanoon, Etemad and the Iranian Sports Agency, Boochani co-founded, -edited, wrote for, and published the Kurdish magazine Varia (Werya), where he was able to champion Kurdish culture and language.

On 17 February 2013, officials from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ransacked the Varia offices in Ilam and arrested 11 of his colleagues. Several were subsequently imprisoned. Mr Boochani was in Tehran that day and so avoided arrest. On hearing of the arrests, he published the information on the website Iranian Reporters, and his report was widely circulated. Mr Boochani feared for his safety and went into hiding eventually deciding to flee Iran on 23 May 2013.

While in detention, Boochani continues to write and publish articles in Kurdish publications. He has also served as a vital source of information flowing out of the detention centre to the media (see his letter tweeted by Australian journalist, Shane Bazzi). Most recently, Boochani has published the first instalment of a book he is currently writing while in detention on his experiences.

What can you do?

  1. Send similar letters of appeal
  2. Publicise the first instalment of his book detailing his experiences on Manus Island;
  3. Send messages of support to Boochani (for information on how to contact, please email emma.wadsworth-jones@pen-international.org)

What to write in appeals?

  • Urge the Australian authorities to process Kurdish Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani’s asylum claim, in light of the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ‘s 26 April ruling;
  • Call on the Australian authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of all those transferred to Australia’s offshore detention sites;
  • Call for the Australian authorities to end the offshore processing of asylum seekers in Nauru and Manus Island, in line with the recommendations of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and ensure that asylum seekers and those in immigration detention in offshore processing centres, including Behrouz Boochani, are provided with adequate legal protection in line with Australia’s obligations under international law.

Send appeals to:

Hon. Peter Dutton MP

Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

PO Box 6022

House of Representatives

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600


Email: peter.dutton.mp@aph.gov.au

Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP,

Prime Minister of Australia,
PO Box 6022,
House of Representatives,
Parliament House,
Canberra ACT 2600,

Via online form: https://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm

    Other actions
  • Consider adopting Behrouz Boochani as an honorary member. Details of how to campaign for honorary members may be found in the Writers in Prison Committee Handbook, available here.
  • Organise public events, press conferences, readings of his poetry and other writings or or demonstrations;
  • Write solidarity messages to Behrouz Boochani, messages can be sent via: wadsworth-jones@pen-international.org
  • Share Boochani’s writings online (see two poems by Boochani here)
  • Share PEN’s 2016 Resolution on Australia.