Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR
A human rights lawyer is taking Turkey to the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions to stop the deportation of Iranian refugees who were detained for attending a protest against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention last year.
Esmaeil Fattahi, Zeinab Sahafi, and Leili Faraji were detained on April 5, 2021 for attending a press statement in the western province of Denizli where they protested Ankara’s controversial exit from the international treaty, the world’s first binding agreement to prevent violence against women.
The three were taken to a repatriation center in the western province of Aydın where they were held for several months before being sent to other cities.
A court in Denizli rejected an appeal by the migrants on Dec. 31, 2021. They had also applied to the Constitutional Court to stop their detention while the legal proceedings are ongoing.
The Constitutional Court rejected all their applications.
Human rights lawyer Kurtuluş Baştimar said he applied to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions Group on behalf of the migrants over violations of freedom of expression, attending a peaceful protest, their right to a lawyer and a ban on producing evidence against them.
Baştimar told Gazete Duvar that the three were detained on accusations that they attended a banned press statement and that they posed a “national security threat.”
The migrants were not allowed to contact anyone or their lawyers. Authorities also reportedly tried to force them into signing a form to voluntarily be sent back.
Turkish authorities will be asked to present a defense within a two-month period.
(English version by Nihan Kalle)