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First finalist 2018

César Dezfuli Rello

Banjul to Biella


Malick, 19, left Banjul, his birthplace and the capital of The Gambia, on 14 March 2016, embarking on a perilous journey. After traversing Senegal, he crossed the desert between Mali and Libya inside a petrol tank where he and his travelling companions almost suffocated. When he arrived in Libya, he was abducted and had money extorted by people-trafficking networks and was held for a number of months in a centre where he witnessed the murder of some of his friends. He regained his freedom thanks to ransom money sent by his family.

After been rescued at sea when sailing in an inflatable dinghy with 120 people aboard, he landed in Sicily on 2 August 2016. One of the 181,436 migrants that were rescued along the Central Mediterranean migratory route this year, Malick was moved to Biella, a city in northern Italy where he now lives in a temporary reception centre. After more than two years, he is still waiting for a definitive response to his claim for asylum.

In this reportage, the photographer follows him in his day-to-day life, which could be representative of the situation of most of the asylum seekers that reached Italy in recent years. His story was followed as of his rescue in the Mediterranean.


(Madrid, 1991). After training as a journalist, César Dezfuli worked freelance focusing on documentary and investigative reports. Although much of his efforts were on humanitarian issues, he also worked on current affairs, combining written journalism and photographic reporting. He specialised earning a postgraduate diploma in Photojournalism from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. His work has been published by Time, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, BBC, El País and La Sexta. He has been the recipient of major awards such as the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2017, the Head On Photo Award 2017, and Picture of the Year International (POYI) 2018.