Behrouz Boochani wins Anna Politkovskaya Award for Journalism

Behrouz Boochani on Manus Island.( Photograph: Jason Garman/AFP/Getty Images)

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SULAIMANI — Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was honored with the Anna Politkovskaya Award for Journalism by the Italian magazine Internazionale on Friday (October 5) for his work documenting Australia’s immigration detention program.

Boochani fled Iran in 2013 in an attempt to reach Australia, but has been living in various detention centers for the past five years, according to the Guardian. He is currently living on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

Australia’s government runs a number of offshore camps where it detains attempted asylum seekers who have try to reach the country by boat. Boochani is the not the only journalist who has documented the brutal conditions within the facilities, but his unique perspective as a detainee and refugee has made his work indispensable.

Boochani’s acclaimed book No Friend but the Mountains was published this year, after being written mostly over text message while he was in detention. Additionally, he co-directed a documentary “Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time,” which premiered at the Sydney Film Festival last year.

He received the award in absentia because he is still detailed on Manus.

“I believe this international recognition proves what the Australian government has done on Manus and Nauru is a global issue,” he told Guardian Australia.

“This award is to shame the politicians who take pride in torturing innocent people. Events and awards as such create new spaces for us to have a dialogue about this important issue. And as always, makes me more determined to continue with my activism and write.”

The prize is named after Russian investigative journalist Anna Plitkovskaya, who was gunned down in Moscow on October 7, 2006. It is thought that she was murdered after her coverage of the Second Chechen War drew the ire of the Kremlin.

Previous winners of the award include Egyptian Mada Masr and Salvadoran Carlos Dada.

(NRT Digital Media)