Iranian at risk of deportation from Turkey could face execution

Bijan Moradi

Bijan Moradi, an Iranian national scheduled to be deported from Turkey on Saturday, might face imprisonment, torture and even the death penalty upon his return, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Thursday.

Moradi was engaged in labor union activism in Iran, and that is why he’s at risk of persecution, according to his wife, Delnia Molodzadeh.

The couple was captured by the Turkish police while attempting to cross into neighboring Greece and were sent to a repatriation center in northwest Turkey.

While Molodzadeh was able to request to stay in Turkey, Moradi could not exercise his right to object to deportation since no interpreter was present during his processing.

His lawyer, Ayla Tunçdemir, said their appeal of the deportation was rejected by an administrative court.

“We are taking every step necessary to stop the deportation. We can also apply to the Constitutional Court, but our time is very limited,” Tunçdemir said, adding that Moradi should at least be deported to a third country since Iran still has the death penalty.

An Iranian journalist whose name was kept anonymous by Gazete Duvar for security reasons told the news website that Iranian asylum seekers who are deported to their home country are often journalists, writers, activists, academics and members of minorities.

“The people who are deported to Iran aren’t just detained by the police,” the journalist said. “There are multiple institutions that can detain you upon your return to Iran, including two separate intelligence agencies. That is why it’s very difficult to track people down after they get deported, even for their families and lawyers.”

“What can happen to you is not limited to torture. They coerce you into confessing to crimes that you didn’t commit and try to trick you into doing that by saying that you can get off the hook with a lenient sentence. If torture isn’t enough, they can drug you and take your confession. Then these confessions are broadcast on state television, and you can still end up being executed.”

While Turkey is party to the 1951 Geneva Convention on refugees, it retains a geographic limitation that rules out granting refugee status to people arriving from outside Europe.

As a result, the situation of asylum seekers in the country, such as Uyghurs and Iranian government critics, is often precarious.

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