Behrouz Boochani, the Iranian asylum seeker who staged the tree protest on Sunday in Foxtrot compound has been arrested at a meeting with Immigration and forcibly relocated to Oscar compound – a compound for those found to be refugees.
Boochani had been summoned to the meeting this morning at 9.45am, following a promise that his positive refugee case would be reviewed and then taken to Oscar.
Boochani is among a group of around 50 people who have never made an application for refuge status in PNG.
Yet, on 18 April he was handed a letter indicating that he had been found to be a refugee.
Around 45 others, who have also refused to make applications, however, were handed notices that they had been rejected.
Boochani has consistently questioned the PNG assessment process that could make such directly contradictory findings.
His tree-top protest highlighted the inconsistency, the lack of transparency, and the corruption of the determination process.
Boochani is a high profile refugee, a dissident Iranian journalist who has been adopted by the international journalist association PEN as a political prisoner detained by Australia.
Boochani’s forced transfer comes at the same time as refugees are being told that the gates of Oscar and Delta compounds will be “open” tomorrow, Wednesday, 27 April, and that people who apply, will be able to leave the detention centre by bus for the town at Lorengau between the hours of 7am and 4pm.
Detainees are very suspicious of this move as well as fearful of locals who have been antagonistic towards those held at the centre and were involved in the attack on the centre in 2014 in which Reza Berati was murdered.
The result of the PNG Supreme Court decision which found the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre illegal will change the situation.