Iranian migrants facing deportation from Turkey taking case to UN

Three Iranian migrants in Turkey facing deportation after attending a women’s rights protest, are seeking the help of the United Nations, Duvar news site reported on Friday.

Kurtuluş Baştimar, the lawyer of Esmaeil Fattahi, Zeinab Sahafi, and Leili Faraji, will be taking the case of the Iranian nationals to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions Group, citing violations such as that of freedom of expression and attendance of a peaceful protest, Duvar said.

The three were detained on April 5th of last year in Turkey’s western Denizli province over their alleged involvement in a protest over Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty on the prevention of violence against women. Turkey’s exit from the treat last year sparked nationwide protests in the country, where cases of violence against women are on the rise.

The three were detained for 2.5 months on charges of having attended a banned press release, and were accused of posing a “national security threat,” according to their lawyer. 

Baştimar maintains his clients were prevented from contacting anyone while under police custody and attempts were made by Turkish officials to force them into signing a form facilitating their voluntary return to Iran.

Turkey is home to some 67,000 Iranians, among them 39,000 refugees, and where millions of Iranian tourists a year enjoy visa-free travel to country.

In 2020, a group of a group of 33 Iranians were deported home from Turkey, including Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi, who were then sentenced to death over their involvement in 2019 protests, according to the Times.

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