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An Iranian author wrote a book from prison using WhatsApp messages. And received the most prestigious award in Australia

He has been in custody for more than six years, so he did not attend the ceremony.

Behruz Buchani Photo winner Bowness Photography Prize

Behrouz Buchani (Behrouz Boochani) is an Iranian journalist and director who has spent the last six years in a refugee camp on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea). In 2013, he escaped from Iran due to the persecution of the authorities and went by boat from Indonesia to Australia. However, he was detained and sent to an illegal camp for illegal crossing the border.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We are forgotten people thrown on forgotten islands. I write from the island of Manusa. From where I am kept against my will. I write in isolation with 700 other people who are hidden on a remote island in the north of Papua – New Guinea.[/perfectpullquote]
Behruz Buchani
Iranian journalist ( quote from CNN )

Australian authorities maintain strict rules against refugees from the ocean crossing danger and getting into the hands of smugglers, says the BBC BBC. Even if Buchani receives official refugee status, he will never be able to enter and live in Australia. At the end of 2017, he and other illegal immigrants were transferred to new housing, but they still cannot leave the island. According to Amnesty International’s report , several camp residents tried to commit suicide, and three men succeeded.

Despite the prison situation, Buchani regularly publishes articles on The Guardian and CNN, writes books, and also gives interviews to TV channels from around the world. Moreover, the Iranian journalist shot the documentary “The Seagull, What Time Is It” (Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time) while he was imprisoned. In 2015-2016, he secretly filmed the materials on a mobile phone, and then sent them by mail to his friend and director from Iran. The journalist requested a British visa to show the picture at the London Film Festival, but he was refused.

Behruz Buchani with another prisoner A still from the film “The Seagull, What Time Is It ”

January 31 Behruz Buchani received the most prestigious literary award in Australia (Victorian Prize for Literature) and a prize of 55 thousand pounds. According to the rules, the winners must be residents or citizens of Australia, but for the Iranians made an exception. The jury awarded the work “No Friend But the Mountains” – an autobiography of the journalist about his stay in the camp and the struggle for life. He was unable to attend the ceremony.

“No Friend But the Mountains” was written using WhatsApp text messages: Buchani dialed them on his mobile phone and sent them to the translator. He was afraid to leave entries in the notes of the device or on paper, because the guards regularly came to the room with searches.

According to the Iranian, he wrote this work not to receive prizes for him, but to “disgrace the Australian government”. “I fled from Iran to escape prison, but I went to Australia and they sent me to prison,” said Buchani.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]My goal has always been to make people in Australia and around the world clearly aware of the systematic torture of innocent people on the islands of Manus and Nauru for six years. I hope this award will draw more attention to this situation and put an end to barbaric politics.[/perfectpullquote]
Behruz Buchani
Iranian journalist
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