Abdulmenaf Osman, a 58-year-old writer born in Hasakah (Hesekê), north-east Syria, was released from a Turkish prison on 3 September after serving a 30-year sentence. Instead of being reunited with his family, who reside in Istanbul, he was immediately transferred to a return centre for deportation proceedings.
Barış Işık, a member of the Human Rights Association (IHD) İzmir Branch Refugee Commission, criticised the deportation order. “Deporting a person who has applied for international protection is against both national and international law. Unfortunately, we often see prisoners who are refugees facing deportation threats upon their release,” Işık stated.
Pro-Kurdish Green Left Party İzmir MP Burcugül Çubuk highlighted the severe risks Osman faces if deported. “If Osman is deported, he could be handed over to jihadist groups or the Syrian regime. This would be a crime against humanity, especially considering the ongoing war in Syria,” Çubuk warned.
Gizem Metindağ, President of the Refugee Association (Mülteci-Der) Board, cited specific Turkish laws that make Osman’s deportation illegal. “According to Articles 4 and 55 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection (YUKK), Osman cannot be deported. Deporting him would violate Turkey’s positive obligations to prevent torture,” Metindağ explained.
Osman’s nephew, Salim Kaplan, revealed that despite having family in Istanbul and even applying for asylum in the Netherlands in 2021—a process still pending—Osman was not allowed to see his family. “He should be released to his family immediately. He needs to be free to follow up on his asylum application and to initiate passport procedures for going to a third country,” Kaplan urged.
The Freedom for Lawyers Association (ÖHD) and the Kurdish Writers Association have also called for Osman’s immediate release, citing the risk of death penalty, torture, and inhumane treatment if he is deported to Syria.
Legal teams and politicians are currently preparing to challenge the deportation order, which has become a focal point in the debate on Turkey’s treatment of released prisoners who are also refugees.