Refugees

Iranian asylum seeker deported

The Iranian national seeking asylum in Fiji was taken into custody this morning and transported to Nadi International Airport and put on a plane back to Papua New Guinea.

Staff Writers

February 3, 2017 10:14 am

Loghman Sawari was on his way to Suva with his lawyer, Aman Ravindra-Singh when police stopped them near Sigatoka and took him back to Nadi.

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Lautoka lawyer Aman Singh at a press conference in Suva this afternoon. (Newswire).

Mr Singh claims his client was deported without following due course despite assurances given by Immigration Director Mr Nemani Vuniwaqa and Human Rights Commission Director, Mr Ashwin Raj.

The Lautoka lawyer said that police and immigration officials acted aggressively and illegally in detaining and deporting Sawari.

The Iranian national is believed to have entered Fiji on a PNG passport and was due to make his application for asylum today.

Mr Singh said Mr Sawari was in a “very, very horrible state” because of the aggression used to remove him.

“He could have walked to the vehicle. He’s been through a lot. The way they did things, it was almost like special forces jumping out of nowhere, making the whole atmosphere so aggressive,” he said.

“It was totally uncalled for. Serious criminals walk free in this country whereas asylum seekers, genuine refugees, are treated like criminals.”

Mr Singh said police waved a letter in front of him but sped off at “breakneck speed” with Mr Sawari before he could read it. “I’m in utter shock,” he said.

The Immigration Department has referred all queries to their line ministry.

Authorities unaware as Iranian national slips into Nadi

January 31 – An Iranian national slipped into the country using false documents last week and is seeking asylum.

Loghman Sawari, 21, was a refugee on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for three and half years before fleeing out of fear for his safety.

This photo of Sawari confirmed to have been taken outside Jacks of Fiji store in Nadi. Photo: Behrouz Boochani.

Mr Sawari is believed to have boarded a plane to Nadi using false documentation using money gathered over time from numerous sources.

The Iranian has been taken in by a family in Nadi and has retained the services of lawyer Aman Singh who did not wish to comment due to the sensitive nature of Sawari’s case.

Wailoloa Caption
Sawari was posing for a photo on Wailoaloa Beach. Fiji Times reported that he paid $5 to the horse’s owner for this shot.  The photo was posted on Sawari’s Facebook profile.

Sawari has been in constant contact with overseas media and has reportedly visited many places in Nadi.

He told Radio New Zealand that he would meet immigration officials on Monday.

“I like Fiji people because they smile and they respect; I don’t know much about Fiji. I don’t know what the government will be saying about me. I don’t want a rich country, or United States or another country. I need just a simple life for myself.”

Sawari had told Australian media that he would surrender himself to immigration officials yesterday and seek asylum under international conventions.

However, immigration officials are still waiting for Sawari to turn up.

Immigration Director Mr Nemani Vuniwaqa confirmed he would make further comments after meeting Sawari.

Fiji has taken in refugees before and is required to do so under international conventions.  Read 22 refugees from the Middle East in Suva safe house and No easy answers on refugees.

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