Detention a ‘sad, dark place’: Mojgan

A Brisbane high school student in detention in Darwin has described it as a “sad, dark place” but says she’s trying to remain positive.


Iranian asylum seeker Mojgan Shamsalipoor, 21, has dictated a heartfelt letter to a member of her school’s P&C, who visited her in detention amid an ongoing campaign to secure her release.

Ms Shamsalipoor, who was months away from graduation at Yeronga State High School, was last month forcibly taken from the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre, where she was still allowed to see her husband Milad Jafari and attend classes.

She was taken to Darwin’s high-security Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre for what she was told were “operational reasons”.

Jessica Walker, who visited Ms Shamsalipoor in detention this week to give her school work, took a statement from her to pass on to her growing group of supporters – including classmates and teachers – appalled at how she has been treated.

Ms Shamsalipoor spoke of being overwhelmed by the support she had received, saying she didn’t “know how to handle this much love”.

She said her time in detention had taught her to be patient and see the best in people even when they were angry at her.

“In detention, which is a sad, dark place, I only see light,” Ms Shamsalipoor said.

“I look and see colour.”

The aspiring midwife said her time in detention made her realise how much time she wasted when she was free and it gave her clarity about future plans.

“I will adopt children from places of poverty and war and raise them with my husband,” she said.

Immigration minister Peter Dutton, who earlier this week revealed he had finished reviewing Ms Shamsalipoor’s case, on Thursday refused to comment, except to say the government was right to take action against failed claimants like her.

“The Australian public would expect us to take action against people who are not here with a valid visa,” he said.

Ms Shamsalipoor’s lawyer, Kevin Kadirgamar, said her asylum claim failed because she was initially reluctant to tell immigration officials that family members, with connections in the government, had sexually abused her in Iran.

He told AAP he wrote to Mr Dutton urging him to allow her to apply for a partner visa while in detention, instead of having to return to Iran to do so.

Mr Kadirgamar said Ms Shamsalipoor not only feared for her safety in Iran, but that Australian immigration protocols meant her application was almost certain to fail if lodged from Iran.

Her husband told AAP he was urgently seeking a face-to-face meeting with Mr Dutton.

The “Free Mojgan” campaign will include a rally outside Mr Dutton’s Brisbane offices in coming weeks.