Iranian Tells of Harrowing Operation Sovereign Borders Policy

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By Athena Yenko | March 18, 2014 3:19 PM EST

Iranian asylum seeker Arash Sedigh tells of his harrowing experience aboard the orange boats sent to turn back asylum seekers under Abbott's Operation Sovereign Borders Policy.

Through ABC's 7.30 programme Mr Sedigh narrated how border officials forced them to the orange lifeboat following a week long detention on the Australian Customs ship Triton off Christmas Island. 

''When we arrive and Customs come inside our wooden boat, I just ask them 'Please, please, help us. Would you please take us in a safe place? They just shouted at me, 'Shut up! Shut up! Sit down!, '' Mr Sedigh told the ABC.

Mr Sedigh revealed that he was isolated on board Triton so he would not reveal to others that they would be turn back.

He was allegedly "punched" by border officials before forcing him onto the orange boat.

"I asked [sic] them, 'We will die in this orange boat, it's not suitable for passing the ocean. They told me, 'That's not our problem, that's yours. If you die in the Indonesian water, [it] makes Indonesian government in trouble and responsible. That's not our problem'," Mr Sedigh said.

"I was just screaming, I kept saying, 'This boat of yours is not suitable for me to board it'. I was holding to the sides of the boat that they took us to ... I was just screaming. But the only thing they did was to pull me forcefully towards that boat," Mr Sedigh's wife, told 7.30: she said.

Mr Sedigh admitted he threatened to kill border officials because they refused to take a pregnant asylum seeker and other sick passengers to a doctor.

''I told them, I will kill you if you don't take us with that ship. I have nothing to lose. I will kill you. Believe me. For Jesus Christ please help us. Would you please help us?''

Mr Sedigh also told the programme that border officials harshly told them of what was going to happen to them aboard the orange boat.

The border officials said "We don't know, you have no rights, you have no rights."

Another asylum seeker, Pakistani who gave his name as "Mr Dar", told ABC that asylum seekers like them are being treated like prisoner of wars.

"But all people were innocents, small babies, ladies, pregnant ladies and everybody was disturbed and in difficulty. Otherwise, why [would] we go there?" he said.

He described the boat as "very small and smelly."

"This boat is like a grave. The people [were] neck to neck and knee to knee ... somebody vomiting, the bad smell of the vomiting, other people start smoking, vomiting. All the people, one by one, vomiting," Mr Dar said.

Meanwhile, speaking with2GB radio, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said that the ABC's 7.30 programme should be construed by Australians as justification to Abbott government's tougher but effective asylum seeker policy.

''I think Australians watching that program last night would be very thankful that the Australian government has a very strong policy on our borders to ensure that people don't get to illegally arrive in Australia with that kind of air of entitlement or expectation and demand. Last night's program demonstrated that people will still try it on, but they will find a government whose resolve is absolute.'' 

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