In 2000, the Iranian-born Payam Saadat arrived in Australian waters, after a 29-day journey by boat from Malaysia (where he had been living for two months).
He was rescued by the Australian Navy near Ashmore Reef. (630 km north of Broome and 110 km south of the Indonesian island of Rote).
When Mr Saadat was in Iran, he was detained, tortured and physically abused.
While awaiting his trial, one that could have resulted in a 25 year jail sentence, he chose to flee his home country, and arrived in Malaysia.
After two months in Malaysia he left by boat to try to get to Australia, and claim asylum.
His boat was intercepted at Ashmore Reef, in Australian waters, and he was detained, as would anyone without a valid visa.
Payam Saadat then spent five years in detention, between 2000 and 2005, on WA and SA.
Payam Saadat said that the detention centres were inhospitable and overcrowded, with queues to use toilets that were not cleaned regularly enough, and with insufficient numbers of showers and laundries to cope with the influx of more arrivals without valid visas. Some being genuine asylum seekers, some not.
He says the experience in the Australian detention centres, caused ongoing mental health issues.
Payam Saadat is now suing the Federal Government for those mental health issues that he alleges he suffered while he was held in detention in Australia, not those from his detention and torture in Iran. Nor from his travels through other countries or the 29 days he spent at sea where his boat broke down twice and almost sunk, and where he endured 6 days without food or water, before being rescued by the Australian Navy.
In 2021, he has begun his 5th legal attempt for compensation.
Major concerns about this case could have ramifications for the Australian taxpayer being liable for compensation for various issues.
Compensation for distress caused to foreign visa applicants who are refused a visa.
Compensation for distress caused during detention in any prison, for breaching an Australian law.
Compensation for medical costs being paid out in Australia, where non visa holders are compensated for not receiving it for free.
A complicated case…