Hope for Adelaide refugee to be reunited with his partner after eight years in detention.
Mohammad Sohrabi, a Kurdish refugee, cuts a lonely figure perched upon the edge of his bunk bed in Adelaide Immigration Transit Accommodation (AITA). I am catching up with Mohammad over video call to see how things are going for him since nine other refugees were moved to the Park Hotel Prison in Melbourne under the darkness of night on the 5th of May. The choice, Mohammad says, to stay in Adelaide or go to Melbourne with the other refugees he has spent almost 16 months within AITA, and before that, six years on Manus Island was very, very difficult.
Mohammad chose to stay in Adelaide to be close to the primary support in his life, his partner of over two years. He hoped he would be released from detention into the community to be with his partner and slowly rebuild his life.
Mohammad tells me that there should not have to be a choice between a detention centre or a hotel prison because he and all of the other refugees brought to Australia under the now-repealed Medevac Legislation are not criminals and should be living freely in the community.
Mohammad lives with 501 visa holders and others who have had their visas cancelled. He spends his days waiting to hear something, anything, from Australian Border Force about what the future holds for him but says that since other men were moved to Park Hotel Prison, he has not been provided with any updates.
The wait for news is like torture. The days are long and lonely and full of frustration, fatigue and anger, with nothing but his thoughts to keep him company, day in day out, waiting just like every other day since this nightmare began eight years ago.
Words by Renae Heinrich, Refugee Voices volunteer, Adelaide