The Lawyer

Diez | Ivory Coast | Australian Citizen

“If you are a refugee, you can become a cleaner, taxi driver, not more.”

Diez’s home is a cardboard box, wedged somewhere within a stunted row of housing department flats.

It is modestly outfitted with dusty second-hand furniture donated through a Buddhist charity. His bed sits one metre from the front door, his dining table a foldable tray. But anything is better than an African prison, he says.

Once upon a time, Diez was a highly ranked lawyer for the United Nations. He disappeared one day, and was found a year later in an Ivorian jail, barely alive.

Diez was sent to Australia in 2006 under the offshore resettlement program. Not wanting to be a cleaner or taxi driver, he spent the next six years studying social work.

He fiddles with his Virgin Mary pendant as he tells his story, his voice a sonorous murmur.

From human rights lawyer to prison inmate. From security guard to social worker. From refugee to citizen.

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