PNG: All charges against Iranian refugee Loghman Sawari must be dropped, protection not punishment needed

13 February 2017, 11:44 UTC | Asia and The Pacific

Responding to news that Loghman Sawari, an Iranian refugee who fled Papua New Guinea to escape the cruel and inhumane treatment of refugees, has been remanded in custody, Amnesty International said:

“Loghman Sawari has suffered enough," said Kate Schuetze,  Amnesty International's Pacific Researcher.

“Loghman Sawari has suffered enough. Amnesty International holds grave concerns for his physical and mental well-being and is calling for Papua New Guinea to immediately and unconditionally release him and drop all criminal charges against him".

Kate Schuetze,  Amnesty International's Pacific Researcher.

“Amnesty International holds grave concerns for his physical and mental well-being and is calling for Papua New Guinea to immediately and unconditionally release him and drop all criminal charges against him. Loghman Sawari must receive appropriate medical care, psychological support and have his essential needs for food and adequate housing met.

“Following that, the Australian Government must step up and immediately bring him to safety here in Australia. His case is extreme, and he simply cannot be left to languish in despair in Papua New Guinea.”

The court is scheduled to give a decision on bail on Tuesday 14 February.

Amnesty International has issued a global Urgent Action on Loghman’s case calling on supporters around the world to speak up on his situation: www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa34/5634/2017/en/

Background

Loghman Sawari was unlawfully detained in August 2013 (then 17 years old), and held for around three years at the Australian-run detention centre for adult males on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea while his refugee claim was being processed.

Loghman Sawari flew to Fiji on around 24 January 2017, allegedly on false identity documents, seeking to escape the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment he suffered in PNG, including beatings, imprisonment, living on the street and lacking access to health care.

Seeking asylum should never be criminalised, regardless of a person's means of arrival. By imposing criminal charges on Loghman Sawari,  PNG authorities are breaching their obligations to uphold the Refugee Convention.

On 3 February, he was forcibly returned to PNG without due process and held incommunicado for 30 hours.

Logham Sawari is allegedly charged with using false information to obtain a passport, a criminal offence which carries a fine of up to 10,000 PNG Kina and up to six months imprisonment.

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