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Iranian Activist and Refugee in Türkiye Facing Imminent Deportation

October 26, 2023
2 min read
During her detention, Mirzaei learned from camp law enforcement officers that the Iranian embassy had formally requested her extradition back to the country
During her detention, Mirzaei learned from camp law enforcement officers that the Iranian embassy had formally requested her extradition back to the country

Turkish authorities have arrested Shilan Mirzaei, a human rights activist and Iranian refugee in Türkiye, and have transported her to a deportation camp, IranWire reports. 

During her detention, Mirzaei learned from camp law enforcement officers that the Iranian embassy had formally requested her extradition back to the country.

In two audio files obtained by IranWire, Mirzaei, a civil and human rights advocate, revealed that two individuals employed at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic in the Turkish capital Ankara had previously attempted to "abduct" her and forcibly return her to Iran.

She recounted how she was taken into custody by local security police and transferred to the Bandirma deportation camp in northern Türkiye on October 24, where she remained detained. 

Despite intense pressure to sign deportation and repatriation documents, she had refused to do so.

Mirzaei stressed that the Turkish authorities did not provide any clear grounds for her arrest. However, based on statements made by the arresting officers, it became evident that the Islamic Republic's embassy had instigated the Turkish government's actions. 

The officers informed her that, at the behest of the central immigration police department in Ankara, the police had been instructed to apprehend her and move her to the Bandirma camp for further investigation.

In the audio files, Marzaei has insisted that all her activities were only focused on "human rights advocacy for the Iranian people" and that she had not engaged in any actions against the Turkish government.

She was arrested without any legal proceedings initiated against her in the Turkish judicial system and there was no mention of any personal complaints lodged against her.

Mirzaei has also reported recent threats against both herself and her family – by the Iranian government. 

She expressed frustration, stating, "I have lodged complaints with the United Nations and local law enforcement for over a year regarding the two individuals from the Iranian embassy in Türkiye who attempted to abduct me, but my concerns were not taken seriously." 

Additionally, she described a recent threat to her child: "Just a week ago, they threatened to harm my child in front of school. I filed a complaint, but the United Nations paid no attention."

The deportation of asylum seekers, refugees, and political and civil activists living in Türkiye to Iran has seen a worrisome surge in recent years. United Nations refugee officials have also reduced their activities and now defer the handling of refugees to the Turkish government.

Previously, the Turkish government deported political activist Shahryar Baratinya to Iran, leading to his imprisonment in Evin Prison since August 3, following his deportation.

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