After 6 years, refugee writer tastes freedom in New Zealand



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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — For the first time in six years, Behrouz Boochani feels like a free man. When he arrived in New Zealand last week, he simply wanted to smoke a cigarette and take a long walk down the street.

A refugee from Iran, Boochani was held against his will at Australia’s notorious offshore immigration camp on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea from 2013 until he was recently moved to the capital, Port Moresby.

But even now, the 36-year-old’s future remains uncertain. He arrived in New Zealand on a temporary one-month visa to speak at a literary festival.

Boochani says he has no interest in returning to Papua New Guinea but wouldn’t be drawn on whether he’d seek asylum in New Zealand, pursue a claim to U.S. asylum or do something else.

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The Associated Press

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