Israel has offered asylum to a Turkey-based Iranian journalist who faces forcible deportation to Iran, where she faces execution for her work at an Israeli news site.
Neda Amin, an Iranian who moved to Turkey in 2015 and who is recognised by the UN as a refugee, was threatened with deportation by Turkish authorities and execution on her return to Iran.
However, following appeals by Israel’s journalist federations and a petition from UN Watch, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said he would issue 32-year-old Amin a special visa.
“This is a journalist whose life is in real danger,” Deri said in a statement.
“Given the clear humanitarian circumstances, I authorised her entry without delay.”
This is wonderful news!
Neda, 32, had to leave Iran in 2014 after having been arrested several times due to her articles and books. One of her books, Zenjir (“The Chain”) has been banned in Iran.
“Zenjir is a feminist book about the oppression of women in Iran,” she said. “One of my arrests in the country was due to that book. The pressure from the government would not stop so I had to leave.”
In May 2015, she became a refugee recognised by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The document granted to Neda by the UNHCR states that “as a refugee, she should be protected from forcible return to a country where she would face threats to her life or freedom.”
However, Neda was sent a notice by Turkish immigration authorities on July 5, which stated that her application for international protection has been rejected. “If you do not apply for an authorised administrative court or do not inform our provincial directorate of your application to the court in 30 days, you will be deported. And if you do not want a re-entry ban to be imposed on you, leave Turkey within the stated period,” the notice added.
Neda said that she went to the UN office in Turkey but the UN authorities refused to help her. “They told me if Turkey removes my status as a refugee, there is nothing that they can do about it.
“I am very scared,” Neda Amin told German publication BILD. “I have done nothing wrong, and the United Nations recognise me as a refugee, but certain Turkish authorities have me in their sights. I cannot go back to Iran. I just want to go to a different country where I can be safe.”
Fortunately, this story has taken a turn for the better. With her asylum in Israel she will now be able to freely live in Israel. We pray she will have a blessed new life in the Jewish nation.