Award-winning Iranian cartoonist and Manus Island detainee Ali Dorani, known under the pseudonym of Eaten Fish, has been spirited off Papua New Guinea by an international “refuge” organisation.
According to the Norwegian-based International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), Mr Dorani arrived safely in a city of refuge after spending four years in the offshore detention camp.
“I have left PNG. It was a long journey but I am safe now. I am thinking about my friends in Manus Island and Port Moresby. Thank you to my supporters and people who worked to make this journey happen,” Mr Dorani said in a statement to ICORN.
ICORN, which worked closely with Mr Dorani during his years in Manus to find him residency, told The New Daily the his current location has been temporarily been withheld.
“We are relieved that Eaten Fish has arrived safely in a city of refuge where he is free to pursue his career as a cartoonist,” ICORN programme director Elisabeth Dyvik said in a statement.
“ICORN could not have organised this residency for him without the assistance and tireless work of a group of dedicated individuals and organisations, such as Bro Russels, Director of Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI); poet and activist Janet Galbraith, and cartoonist Andrew Marlton (better known as First Dog on the Moon).
“ICORN would also commend the city of refuge that has invited him to be the city’s ICORN resident for the next two years.”
The ICORN website lists more than 60 cities of refuge in its network, all in Europe of North America.
Mr Dorani made international headlines during his time in PNG, with his cartoons depicting life in the Manus camp.
The Cartoonists Rights Network International granted him the Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award in 2016 for his stream of cartoons documenting the harsh conditions of asylum seekers in detention.
His cartoons have been published by The Guardian, Washington Post, ABC, and eatenfish.com.
Mr Dorani left Iran in 2013, seeking asylum in Australia when he arrived at Christmas Island by boat before being transferred to Manus Island.
In November, refugees on Manus were forcibly removed by PNG police and military forces from the detention camp after its final closure.
Roughly 400 refugees remained at the Lombrum site after its evacuation, spending days without water, food and electricity to peacefully resist being moved to unsafe detention centres.
The men say they do not want to move to yet another detention in fear of violence from locals in the area.
Refugees claimed “aggressive” officers threw stones and “beat” the men with long rods in an attempt to move the detainees.