An Iranian asylum seeker in Turkey has revealed she was detained during a Women’s Day March and is at risk of being deported back to Iran.
Speaking to the Bianet news website, Ghazale Moghaddam said she absolutely did not want to be sent to Iran. “I will be killed if I go back,” she said. “I started my university education here, and I really want to continue with it. I want to live.”
Moghaddam said the police saw her marching with banners and immediately demanded she hand them over. “When they noticed I was not Turkish, they detained me,” she explained. “They put me in a police van with others and kept shouting at us. I had bruises on my arms from where they held me for days after the incident.”
Moghaddam said she was later sent to a repatriation center, after which she appeared in court. The young woman is currently awaiting the court decision on her deportation to Iran.
“I was under a lot of political pressure in Iran because I took part in anti-headscarf demonstrations. I was a student there, but I could not continue with my life. They kill women like me in Iran,” Moghaddam said.
She stated that life in Turkey was not much easier as a woman, as she was always seen as a “foreigner.” Revealing that she was sexually harassed in Turkey, Moghaddam said she constantly had to move around to get away from the men who harassed her.
“Men try to take advantage of you when they find out you’re an asylum seeker and vulnerable, and I have been harassed by my employers on several occasions,” she added.
A number of Iranian asylum seekers have risked deportation the recent years for taking parting in legal demonstrations and marches.
Four asylum seekers were sent to a repatriation center in western Aydin province on April 6 for taking part in a demonstration against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention.
One of the asylum seekers, Esmaeil Fattahi, said they faced pressure to sign papers for voluntary deportation at the center in Aydın before they were sent to other deportation centers in different provinces.