M.A. was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment as an opponent of the regime in Iran, and has already been detained for ten years. He managed to cross the border nearly five years ago and settled in Turkey’s southeastern province of Van (Wan), according to Mesopotamia Agency.
He made a living doing various jobs but had to leave his last job as a caretaker because he was not being paid for his work. He was evicted from his flat as he could not pay the rent, and he didn’t have the money to rent another. For the last 25 days, he has been living in a park in the city centre.
He has been granted the right to residence but not the rights generally accorded to refugees, and is only getting along now through the help of others. He has to sleep in a different park every night, and he says that the parks can be very dangerous at night.
M.A. states that he cannot do heavy work because he has a heart condition. M.A. talks of opponents of the regime who fled from Iran to Turkey but were kidnapped by Iranian intelligence operatives, and says that that he is worried about this happening to him. He provides the example of an Iranian journalist this happened to, who had no help from the Turkish police. “These people have been sentenced to death in Iran. Who will be held responsible when they are executed? I am in the same danger. My family is having problems in Iran too,” he said.
He states that his family in Iran is in danger. “Every time I telephone, the Iranian intelligence contacts them and harrasses them,” he said. “Because of this, my family don’t want me to call. The regime won’t leave them in peace. They held my nephew hostage for four months trying to get the family to tell them where I was. I need to get out of this situation. Turkey needs to act in accordance with international conventions and recognise my rights as a refugee.”