Four refugees from Iran – who live in Denizli in western Turkey and who were waiting for their asylum papers – were detained on Monday on the grounds that they had joined a protest in Denizli against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.
The alleged ‘crime’ of the Iranian refugees was “disturbing public order”, according to the Turkish prosecutors. They were reportedly first sent to Denizli Foreigners Department, which ruled a deporation order, and then to Aydın Removal Centre on Tuesday, where they have been detained in the facility, pending deporation.
Hayriye Buse Bergamalı, the lawyer for the four refugees and Gülsüm Ağaoğlu, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP’s) co-spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugees Commission, spoke to Mesopotamia Agency about the deportation decision against the refugees
‘Refugees cannot be deported for joining a peaceful protest’
Bergamalı clarified that she could only speak with her clients over a phone call. “They are in good health, but very worried about their deportation”, she confirmed. Participating in peaceful protests and demonstrations, Bergamalı noted, “is a fundamental right that is also defined in the constitution” of Turkey.
“Refugees cannot be deported for joining a peaceful protest. Legally speaking, this is a decision outside of the law”, she stated.
A ‘real risk’ for the refugees
Bergamalı stated that there are only “seven days to cancel the decision and stop the deporation. We will appeal to the Criminal Court of Peace to reverse the administrative detention decision. We will appeal against both the detention decision and the deportation decision”.
“Four refugees sought asylum in Turkey due to political reasons. These people have to be protected by the international convention, constitution, and law under the prohibition of refoulement”, Bergamalı stated.
Defining the deporation as a “real risk” for the refugees, the lawyer said: “There is a real risk that they will be subjected to ill-treatment and torture in case they are sent back to Iran. All of them are deeply concerned about this. They don’t want to be sent back. We will try our best to prevent their deportation”, the lawyer for the refugees stated.
Ağaoğlu: The government discriminates against refugees and women
HDP’s co-spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugees Commission Gülsüm Ağaoğlu pointed out that the Istanbul Convention does not only cover those living within the country but also undertakes to protect refugees in the country as well. “The government discriminates against refugees, just like they discriminate against women. We will do our best to mobilise people and create a public reaction to raise solidarity with our refugee friends. We will do our best to prevent them from being deported”, Ağaoğlu said.
Ağaoğlu stated that standing against the decision of deporation is a must for any human rights defender. “We will stand with the refugees in any circumstances. Being a refugee is the most fundamental human right. We will fight for equal citizenship of the refugees”, she said.