lives in Melbourne, Australia. He is the host of the podcast The Messenger and the editor of They Cannot Take the Sky, a collection of first-person accounts from asylum seekers in detention in Australia.
Papua New Guinea and Nauru are economically dependent on foreign aid provided by Australia, a remnant of colonial administration.
No asylum seekers have been sent to Manus Island or Nauru since 2014—because the Australian Navy and immigration authorities patrol the seas and have forced unauthorized vessels to turn back. In 2015, an Australian official reportedly paid smugglers $32,000 in cash to return their boatload of asylum seekers to Indonesia; the official also provided seaworthy vessels and fuel for the journey.
The payment varied according to the detainee’s country of origin. In 2014, it was reported that repatriates to Afghanistan would receive 4,000 Australian dollars ($3,000), while repatriates to Iran would receive 7,000 ($5,300). The amount offered increased over time, the upper limit reaching 33,000 Australian dollars ($25,000) as men refused to leave.
IHMS declined to comment on Satah’s case, citing privacy concerns, but stated that its clinic had adequate staff and supplies. Staff at Lorengau refused my request for an interview.