Denizli Administrative Court rejected an appeal of Iranian refugees who face deportation for participating in the Denizli protests against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.
Four refugees, 2 female and 2 male, from Iran – who were living in Denizli in western Turkey and who were waiting for their asylum papers – were detained last March on the grounds that they had joined a protest in Denizli against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. (Even though one of them was not even present at the march)
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 on a deportation order, and then to Aydın Removal Centre where they were detained in the facility, pending deporation for a month. After being released, the three refugees, Esmaeil Fattahi, Leili Faraji, Zeinab Sahafi were send to 3 different cities of Turkey.
The refugees had filed a lawsuit with Denizli Administrative Court appealing against the decision. The Denizli Administrative Court unanimously rejected the appeal of Esmaeil, Zeinab, Leili and Mohammad, (who did not even participate in the protest) on 31 December 2021.
The decision was announced on 2 February 2022. Refugees have the right to apply to the Constitutional Court individually.
It is against constitution
Hayriye Buse Bergamalı, the lawyer of the refugees, criticized the rejection of the appeal, saying:
“My clients are legally recognised refugees. Their application to UNHCR to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance have been accepted. They exercised their constitutional rights by participating in the protest. This right is also guaranteed by international conventions. The administration arbitrarily decided to ‘disturbing public order’. This decision, based on the arbitrariness of the administration, is unconstitutional.”
Esmaeil Fattahi told Evrensel that they are concerned about the situation.
“They interviewed us at the Immigration Department. They know that we are under protection of UNHCR. I have had international protection since 2016. We were subjected to pressure at the Repatriation Centre for more than one month because we attended a protest which had permission from the Governorate. They forced us to sign papers in Repatriation Centre. If we go back to Iran, we could face severe punishment, torture by Iranian intelligence. We are worried that they will be knocking on our doors and deporting us at any time.”