Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR
Turkish courts have rejected a deportation appeal made by four Iranian refugees who are facing charges for taking part in a protest against Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. The refugees say they will be killed if they go back to Iran.
“We could be executed," said Esmaeil Fattahi, one of the refugees.
The four refugees, Mohammad Pourakbari Kermani, Esmaeil Fattahi, Leili Faraji, and Zeinab Sahafi were detained last year in Turkey's western province of Denizli they participated in a protest against Ankara's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women. Kermani did not actually participate in the protest.
The protest took place on March 21, 2021; the four were detained on April 5, 2021, for disturbing public order. Authorities decided to deport all four on April 6, 2021. After appeals by the refugees’ lawyers, the Denizli Administrative Court upheld the decision.
The four say that they fled to Turkey because their political views are against those of the Iranian government. Fattahi, Sahafi, and Faraji all worked as activists and fought for women’s rights. The three of them were arrested and authorities sought the death sentence for Fattahi.
“If we are sent to Iran, we will be arrested at the airport and taken to prison. We will be questioned and tortured for months by the Iranian intelligence," Fattahi said.
Regardless of the threat to their lives, the Denizli Administrative Court has found that there was no wrongdoing in the decision to deport the activists and that they, indeed, posed a threat to public safety.
“Although it was stated in the lawsuit petition that if the plaintiffs were sent to Iran, where they are citizens, they would be tortured and tortured because of their political views, the plaintiffs have an obligation to comply with the rules of the country in which they reside,” the court said in its decision.
Ercüment Akdeniz, Chairman of the Labor Party (EMEP), stated on social media that deporting political refugees was against international law.
“Refugees are people just like citizens, and the right to expression and press release is a fundamental human right. Iranian The deportation decision of refugees is also against the principle of international protection,” he wrote on Twitter.
Denizli İdare Mahkemesi, İstanbul Sözleşmesi eylemine katıldıkları için haklarında sınır dışı kararı verilen İranlı mültecilerin itirazını reddetti.— Ercüment Akdeniz (@ErcmentAkdeniz) February 3, 2022
Can güvenliği söz konusu.+#İranlıMültecilerSınırdışıEdilmesin #İstanbulSözleşmesiniSavunmakSuçDeğil pic.twitter.com/zPHUGnQEKx
5- Mülteciler de tıpkı yurttaşlar gibi insanlardır ve ifade, basın açıklaması hakkı temel bir insan hakkıdır. İranlı mültecilerin sınır dışı kararı uluslararası koruma ilkesine de aykırıdır.#İranlıMültecilerSınırDışıEdilmesin #İstanbulSözleşmesiniSavunmakSuçDeğil— Ercüment Akdeniz (@ErcmentAkdeniz) February 3, 2022
Hilmi Miynet of the EMEP Immigration and Refugees Bureau emphasized the illegality of the move by Turkish authorities. He said that sending these people back to the place where they were persecuted is “in violation of the Constitution and international conventions.”
“They defended the Istanbul Convention. Defending the Convention is not a crime. The Istanbul Convention guarantees rights for both Turkish and refugee women. These people have their constitutional and intellectual rights,” he said.
(English version by Erin O'Brien)