- U.S. casts doubt on credibility of Iran election
- Demonstrations in two Iranian universities
- Shahrokh Zamani and Khaled Hardani are on hunger strike
- Another civilian is sentenced to death in Khomeini Shahr
- Five Years of Imprisonment for Baha'i Leaders
- Kurdish Death Row Prisoner Transferred, His Lawyer Arrested
- US Congress Moves Toward Full Trade Embargo on Iran
- Israel says UN pressure having no effect on curbing Iran nukes
- U.S. Congress moves to tighten sanctions on Iran
- Iran pushes ahead with new nuclear plant that worries West
- Iran acts to expand sensitive nuclear capacity: diplomats
- CIA head visits Israel to discuss Syria, Iran's nuclear program
- Women skirt Iranian music ban with fancy dress
- Religious leaders ban 30 women from running for Iran's presidency
- Iranian cleric: Women can't be president in Iran
- Iranians marrying foreigners without state consent face prosecution
- More women smuggling drugs out of Iran
- Canada’s High Court could try Iran for Zahra Kazemi murder
- Iranian troops are fighting in Syria, says US
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Bahrain claims Iranian drone found
- UK: Iran, Hezbollah increasing support for Assad
- When it comes to Syria and Hezbollah, Israel is walking a tightrope
- IRGC: World now eying Iranian regime's resistance
Monday 11 June 2012
GVF — Three years after Iran’s 2009 presidential elections and its violent aftermath, reports from the local office of the UN's refugee agency in Turkey suggest that Iranian asylum-seekers, in particular those who fled the country after the 2009 unrest, are spending lengthy periods in exile, in a virtual state of limbo.
In general, Iranians asylum seekers have to apply to the local office of the UNHCR so that a third country, normally a Western nation, will grant them sanctuary.
Yet these requests are in general processed during a period of up to three years, and in the meantime, these individuals are temporarily settled in provincial towns in Turkey.
According to a 2010 report by the Turkish daily Hurriyet, “there they are legally barred from getting a job, but they still have to pay local residence fees of up to $200 every six months, and are responsible for their food and living expenses.”
Many of the individuals currently in exile in Turkey are journalist, political activists and human rights defenders who fled the country after the massive crackdowns that followed the 2009 presidential race.
A 2011 survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based organisation that promotes press freedom and journalist rights, reported that Iran was officially the worst jailer of journalists. States like Eritrea, China, Burma, Vietnam, Syria, and Turkey trailed behind.
Ehsan Mehrabi, Hamid Mafi, Hadi Nili, Behrooz Samadbeygi and Mahdi Tajik Ghashghaei are just some of the journalists awaiting a response from the UNHCR in Turkey.
Hadi Nili, for instance, has spent the past two years in Turkey. He has yet to receive a definite answer from the UN authorities regarding his case.
While in Iran, Ehsan Mehrabi, 35, worked as a parliamentary journalist and has written for a number of reformist publications, including Hambasteghi, Tose’, Etemad Melli and Farhikhtegan Ghalam. However, he was arrested in early 2010 as part of the authorities’ mass arrest of journalist during the post-election clampdowns.
“After more than seven months of living in Turkey and four months after my interview [with the UNHCR], I still haven’t received a response from the UN. This, despite the fact that there’s a record of my name on the UN’s website as an imprisoned journalist. I have not received any responses, even after referring to [the UNHCR]. I am told that that we must be patient. In addition, my wife is ill and living in this situation has become difficult,” he told the Green Voice of Freedom.
The recent influx of Syrian refugees is one of the reasons for the increased delay in the application procedure, UNHCR officials say to Iranian applicants.
Mehrabi recently received a letter from the Turkish police notifying him that his asylum application had been rejected. However, he says he’s never applied for asylum in Turkey! He was then told he must relocate to Mardin Province on the border with Syria.
Thirteen months after being told that his application was accepted, journalist Behrooz Samadbeygi is still waiting for a country that will host him.
Also, experienced journalist Mahdi Tajik Ghashghaei has been informed that he must wait until July 2013 for a response regarding his fate.