Aladdin Sisalem was born to a Palestinian father and Egyptian mother in Kuwait, where he trained to become a mechanic. Sisalem arrived in Australia in 2002 by boat. He was then detained on Manus Island from 2002 to 2004. Sisalem was the last detainee on Manus Island during its first incarnation as a detention centre, spending 10 months in the centre on his own. Since leaving detention Sisalem has gone on to study aerospace engineering at RMIT in Melbourne.