Stage actor who fled to Turkey during Iranian protests facing deportation

A protestor cuts her hair during a demonstration against the Iranian regime and in support of Iranian women, after young Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini died after being arrested in Tehran by the Islamic Republic's morality police, in Istanbul on October 2, 2022. (Photo by Bulent KILIC / AFP)

An Iranian stage actor who fled to Turkey following his detention in Iran during the Mahsa Amini protests has been detained and is now facing deportation, the Bianet news website reported on Friday.

Ali Pourasani was detained on August 31 in İstanbul and has been held at a migrant removal center in the province since. He was reportedly detained after visiting a provincial migration bureau to obtain an ID card, which he needed for his plans to move to Canada.

Before his arrival in Turkey, Pourasani was imprisoned in Iran during the nationwide protests over the killing of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, in police custody. According to his friends who spoke to the media, he also suffered mistreatment at the hands of Iranian authorities.

The report also said Pourasani was detained despite having been granted a Canadian humanitarian visa and that he might end up missing his chance to leave due to the detention.

His friends also expressed uncertainty about what he might face in Iran in the event of a deportation.

Under international human rights law, the principle of non-refoulement prohibits states from transferring or removing individuals from their jurisdiction or effective control when there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be at risk of irreparable harm upon return, including persecution, torture, ill-treatment or other serious human rights violations. The prohibition of refoulement is explicitly included in the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED).

Although a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Turkey retains a geographic limitation that rules out granting refugee status to anyone arriving from outside Europe. As a result, the legal status of migrants in the country is generally precarious, and people fleeing political persecution, such as Iranian exiles and Uyghurs, are deprived of legal safeguards against refoulement. In recent years, Turkey has extradited a number of Iranians sought by Tehran. There have also been instances of abduction in which the victims disappeared and later resurfaced at the hands of Iranian authorities.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!