Turkey must protect the Iranian human rights defenders in Istanbul

Chairwoman Hautala sent today a letter, below, to the Turkish authorities together with Hélène Flautre, Chair of the Turkey Delegation; Ms Barbara Lochbihler, Chair of the Iran Delegation and Ms Monica Frassoni, Spokesperson of the European Green Party 




 3 March 2010 


To the attention of His Excellency, Mr. Beşir Atalay, Ministry of Interior of the republic of Turkey  


Dear Ministry of Interior,

Dear Mr. Atalay,




We are writing to you to express our concern regarding the situation of the four above-mentioned prominent Iranian human rights defenders in Istanbul. They obtained from the Italian authorities’ refugee status and so necessary travel permits and visas to install themselves in Italy but they currently are stranded at the Istanbul airport in Turkey due to procedural reasons.


  • Mr Pouya Azizi Farsani (born in Farsan-Iran on 21/03/1985; Iranian ID n°2010/PL/8033; visa VTL 116080724).


Mr. Pouya is a Member of the Iranian Writers Association and the deputy for women’s affairs in Mr. Karroubi’s presidential campaign. Following the disputed 12 June elections in Iran and the ensuing crackdown, Mr. Aziz was forced underground.  He entered illegally in Turkey on the 22d of February 2010 and went to the UNHCR in Van where he registered as asylum seeker (n°UNHCR 385-10C00655). According to the procedure, he should have gone to the town of Nevsehir to register and to seek asylum in Turkey. On the indication of the Italian authorities to grant him asylum, he instead went to the Italian consulate of Istanbul, where he did get the visa and the consular « laissez-passer ».


  • Mr. Farahmand Alipour (born in Boyerahmad-Iran on 23/09/1983; Turkish legal permit A n° 661006;  visa VTL 116080721)


Mr. Alipour is a journalist and special reporter for Mr. Karroubi’s campaign. He was detained in Iran following the elections and had to flee the country after his release. He has been under tremendous pressure because of his reporting and coverage of Mr. Karroubi’s activities. He entered illegally in Turkey on the 20th of February 2010 and went to the UNHCR in Van where he registered as asylum seeker (n. 385-09C03942). According to the procedure, he went to Agri where he got a permit to stay in Turkey pending the decision awaiting him refugee status. In the last months, he however received several threats from Iranians persons who approached him.


  • Mr. Sadeq Shojaee Jeshvaghanee (born in Teheran-Iran on 17/07/1980; visa VTL 116080723) and his wife Ms. Fatemeh Fanaeian (born in Teheran-Iran on 21/09/1983; visa VTL 116080722) Turkish legal permit A n° 938511)


Mr. Shojaie is a leading student activist who was banned from continuing his higher education on political grounds. He has been detained several times in Iran and he and his wife were pursued in Iran, forcing them to leave the country. They entered illegally on the 29th of July 2009 and went to the UNHCR office of Van where they registered as asylum seekers (n° 385-09C03131). According to the procedure, they went to Nevsehir where they got a permit to stay in Turkey pending the decision awaiting them refugee status; their passports are in the hand of the Police in Nevsehir. In these last months, Sadegh was threatened and Fatemeh, who was pregnant, lost her baby following the beating during a demonstration.


All of the above individuals are in great danger in Turkey as our information indicates that the Iranian intelligence agents are tracking them there. We are sure that you are aware of the current developments in Iran and what it means for these refugees to stay in an unsafe and unclear situation in Turkey where they are exposed to various threats.


We do understand the relevant administrative procedures in Turkey request them to register either in Agri, either in Nevsehir but given the crucial importance of this humanitarian matter, we would greatly appreciate your urgent action in ensuring that the above four persons are allowed to leave Turkey for Italy as soon as possible.


We are therefore writing to urge you to ensure their security in Turkey and in the meantime, immediately and unconditionally to deliver them with the necessary authorisation document to leave Turkey and travel to Italy.


We thank you very much for your attention to this urgent matter and your collaboration.


We look forward to hearing from you about any further development.


Yours sincerely,



Hélène Flautre – Chair of the Turkey Delegation

Barbara Lochbihler – Chair of the Iran Delegation

Heidi Hautala – Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights

Monica Frassoni – Spokesperson of the European Green Party