Indonesia: Anywhere but home

04 March 2011

JRS provides exercise classes to detainees in one of Indonesia's many detention centres.

Medan, 7 March 2011 – My name is Mohammed. I am a Hazara Afghan from the Kandahar province. I am 21.

The situation was very bad during the Taliban rule in Jaghori. The Taliban didn’t allow distribution of food so my father and my brother opened a restaurant in the Kandahar province, which is the capital of the Taliban government.

We made a good income from our restaurant because many Arab people and rich Taliban soldiers ate there. Besides working at the restaurant I went to high school.

In 2001 the NATO army came to Afghanistan and sometimes NATO customers would come in and eat.

In 2004 my brother accepted a job as an interpreter with NATO. After a year the Taliban became aware my brother was an interpreter and sent my father a letter, saying, “Your son must leave his interpreter job with NATO. If not, we will kill your son and your family.”

My brother and father were forced to flee.  I was busy with my studies and got my diploma in 2008 and was accepted to Kabul University to study law. I was very busy with my studies because being Hazara my teachers were tougher on me than the other students, even threatening me. There are no Hazara law professors because they aren’t allowed to teach.

Last year my father and brother returned to Afghanistan, after three years. On their way home to the Kandahar province, the Taliban took them because my other brother was an interpreter for NATO and because we served NATO personnel at our restaurant. We have not heard from them since.

After that I was confused and looked for any job that would help my family. I began to teach at a high school, but after three months the Taliban found out about my job and I received a letter saying, “I know you are a teacher. You teach our sons in a way that is against Taliban law. Waiting for your death.”

After that letter my mother advised me to leave Afghanistan. I had to leave the country to save my life. I was hoping to find an opportunity to live and study in a democratic country like Australia.

I went to Dubai and met a smuggler who said I could go to Indonesia and then on to Australia. Because the trip by land is dangerous without any documents the smuggler told me to give him $1,000 for safe passage. Then he told me to show him my passport. When he saw my passport he said that I did not have a visa and was illegal. He told me I had to give him $2,000 or he would call the police. I gave him the money and after three days I made it to Indonesia.

After 30 hours travelling in an overcrowded boat we arrived in Indonesia. Upon arrival we stayed in a forest for another day or so, until we were arrested by the police. They confiscated our money and our telephones and jailed us.

Since then I have been in immigration detention waiting for a solution. I can’t go back to Afghanistan as I am scared for my life.

JRS provides exercise classes and movies. We are really grateful to JRS personnel because they are very kind and good people.

At the age of 21 I wish to find a chance at a proper life and continue my university studies. I am ready to get any kind of job and want to continue my law studies at the same time.

I would like to reach Australia because it is a democratic country with opportunities to study, work and make a new life. I am looking for anybody who can assist me with this wish.

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