Shayan Badraie is a former detainee of Sydney’s Villawood detention centre and the Woomera detention centre in South Australia.
He and his family spent a total of two years in detention from March 2000, before being granted visas in Australia.
Shayan Badraie was only five years old when he first witnessed riots, protests and acts of self harm at the detention centres.
From inside the Villawood detention centre, his parents recorded a secret video which illustrated his psychological disintegration.
At the time the young boy refused to eat or drink.
His parents said he was fearful and anxious.
The child’s lawyer, Rebecca Gilsenan, claims Shayan Badraie and another boy had found a detainee who had just slashed their wrists.
It’s claimed that after that grim discovery, Shayan became mute and suffered nightmares.
Even though the family have since been freed from detention, his parents say his symptoms continue.
They say he has trouble eating, sleeping and socialising with classmates.
Psychiatrists now claim he is suffering post traumatic stress disorder.
Rebecca Gilsenan says the damage is expected to be permanent and Shayan will find it very difficult to develop into an adult.
The family is suing the Federal government and Australasian Correctional Management, the operators of the Woomera facility which has been shut down.
The action is taking place in the New South Wales Supreme Court and has been hailed as a test case which could leave the government open to millions of dollars in damages.
It could also pave the way for other detainees to seek compensation.