Politics

Nauru’s Ex-President Says Our Treatment Of Refugees Is “Torture” In Deathbed Confession

"I thought I was doing the right thing."

Nauru's former President calls offshore detention "torture" on The Project

With just days to live, the former President of Nauru has told The Project he regrets letting Australia imprison asylum seekers in his country, calling the agreement with the previous Labor government “a deal with the devil”.

Sprent Dabwido currently lives in Australia, having sought asylum himself after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and labelled an enemy of the state by the current regime in Nauru. Speaking to The Project‘s Hamish Macdonald, Dabwido said his decision to allow Australia to open a detention centre on Nauru was a mistake.

“I thought I was doing the right thing,” he said. “I thought I was helping Australia. I thought I was helping the refugees themselves. But death still occurred. Not at sea, but on my island.”

Dabwido likened offshore detention to “torture” and said asylum seekers “didn’t have a future”. He also claimed the money received from Australia had fuelled “corruption and greed” on the island.

“I think I was being very naive,” he said. “I thought we could, quickly establish ourselves and put the money aside and get the country back on its feet. But it did the opposite.”

Watch the full interview below.