An Iranian anti-hijab activist who fled Iran after being sentenced to 12 years in jail is now dealing with deportation whereas detained in a repatriation heart in Turkey.
Nasibeh Shemsai, 36, was arrested at Istanbul Airport on November 5 as she tried to take an Italy-bound flight utilizing a pretend passport to reunite together with her brother in Spain.
She was initially taken to a police station in Istanbul, then was transferred to a repatriation heart in Edirne, a border province in northwestern Turkey, the place she might be despatched again to Iran.
An architect by occupation and a mountaineer, Shemsai in 2018 climbed Iran’s highest peak, Mount Damavand, and took off her scarf in an image in solidarity with “the Girls of Enghelab [revolution] Street” who participated in protests towards Iran’s obligatory hijab in 2017.
Shemsai was additionally seen in a “White Wednesdays” video, by which she was handing out white flowers to girls passengers within the Tehran metro to indicate solidarity with Nasrin Sotoudeh, a outstanding human rights lawyer who was not too long ago granted a short lived depart from jail for well being causes.
“White Wednesdays” is a social media marketing campaign towards Iran’s pressured headband legislation.
In May 2019, Shemsai was arrested by the Iranian regime on numerous prices, together with anti-regime actions and insulting sacred values in Islam. After six months in detention, the courtroom launched her on parole.
Last May, Shemsai reportedly went to an Iranian prosecutor’s workplace, solely to have her identification paperwork and private belongings confiscated by the Revolutionary Guard. She was advised on the prosecutor’s workplace about an impending 12-year jail sentence, prompting her to flee to neighboring Turkey via smugglers.
In Istanbul, she obtained a pretend passport from a human smuggler to depart Turkey to reunite together with her brother in Spain, in response to her lawyer. Her November 5 arrest and detention sparked a widespread social media marketing campaign by Iranian and Turkish activists demanding that Turkey permit her to remain within the nation.
Turkey’s Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) stated authorized proceedings had been persevering with towards Shemsai. A press launch famous that as of Monday she had not requested worldwide safety from Turkey.
Because of a geographical limitation to the Geneva Conventions, Turkey grants refugee standing solely to people from Council of Europe member states. By that measure, Turkey registers non-Europeans as worldwide safety candidates.
According to the DGMM figures, 3,588 Iranians utilized for worldwide safety in Turkey final 12 months.
Peyman Aref, an Iranian journalist based mostly in Brussels, stated for a lot of Iranians comparable to Shemsai, Turkey will not be a secure vacation spot due to alleged cooperation between Iranian and Turkish authorities.
“Turkey and Iran have close intelligence cooperation. Turkey handed over many Iranian activists to Iran in recent years,” Aref advised VOA, referring to the deportations of Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t reply to VOA’s request for touch upon these allegations.
Rajabi, 26, and Tamjidi, 28, participated in November 2019 anti-government protests in Iran. After initially being arrested and launched, they fled to Turkey to hunt asylum. However, they had been detained by Turkish authorities and deported to Iran, the place they had been instantly arrested and sentenced to dying final February.
The Iranian Supreme Court upheld their dying sentences final July however suspended the executions pending a retrial.
Reuters: Iran Suspends Executions of three Protesters
Rights activists had stated the dying sentences had been geared toward intimidating future protesters
Shemsai’s Istanbul-based lawyer, Ugur Ozdemir, advised VOA that his shopper utilized for worldwide safety in Turkey on Tuesday whereas being held within the repatriation heart.
Ozdemir stated the earlier deportation of Iranian activists who had utilized for worldwide safety dissuaded Shemsai from searching for refuge from Turkish authorities instantly after crossing the Iranian border.
Some human rights organizations say Turkey must abide by the non-refoulement precept of refugee safety no matter geographical limitation. Non-refoulement forbids the return of an individual to a rustic the place she or he could face persecution.
“Even if only one person is forcibly deported, it is a sufficient reason for others to feel unsafe here,” Tarik Beyhan, the campaigns and communications director of Amnesty International’s Turkey workplace, advised VOA.
Beyhan stated his group acknowledges Turkey’s function in internet hosting about four million refugees. However, “it does not mean that it is possible to accept any violation of human rights, international standards and non-refoulement principle, even if it happens once.”
Some specialists say that the latest enhance in cooperation between Iran and Turkey on international and safety coverage has prompted harsher remedy of Iranian refugees in Turkey.
Last September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held a digital Turkey-Iran High-Level Cooperation Council assembly by which they agreed to take steps collectively within the area within the pursuits of each nations, together with joint operations towards militant teams such because the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Iranian wing, PJAK.
Both the PKK and PJAK are designated terrorist organizations by the United States and Turkey.
“As Turkish and Iranian leaders find greater common ground to join forces, there are also greater risks for Iranian nationals who have taken refuge in Turkey,” stated Aykan Erdemir, the director of the Turkey Program on the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former Turkish parliamentarian.
“The latest wave of deportations indicates that the Turkish government is likely to grant the Iranian regime greater room for maneuver in cracking down on dissidents,” Erdemir advised VOA.