Fear is growing that a Kurdish political asylum seeker from Iran will be deported by Greece despite being recognized by the United Nations as a refugee, Gazete Karinca news portal reported on Sunday.
The Turkish news outlet reported that Jalal Piroutkhalkhaneh (Piroty) and his 17-year-old daughter were arrested 18 days ago as they applied for asylum at a police station in Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki.
According to the report of Cagdas Kaplan, Piroutkhalkhaneh was arrested due to an Interpol notice issued at Iran’s behest.
His daughter Hawjin was released. The 17-year-old is displaced while her father is in custody, according to her lawyers.
Piroutkhalkhaneh, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP-Iran), is wanted by the Iranian government due to his resistance against its crackdown on the country’s Kurdish population.
He fled Iran for Turkey, where he stayed for six years, before arriving in Greece as he had been convicted in the former.
KDP-Iran which is based in Northern Iraq has issued a letter to the Greek government stating that Iran is prosecuting Piroutkhalkhaneh based on his political activism and membership of the KDP-Iran.
“Political activist Mr. Piroutkhalkhaneh has been detained in Greece spent 18 days in prison. He has been recognized as a refugee by the UN and holds a UNHCR refugee Certificate,” said Koestan Gadan, the head of Foreign Relations abroad of KDP-Iran.
“There is an imminent threat of extradition to Iran. In the circumstances of deportation, he will face a future of imprisonment, torture, and, at worst, execution. Iranian authorities’ claims alternative truth to get refugees returned to the country” read the letter.
Based in Athens, the Iranian Kurdish Community has also launched a campaign to stop possible deportation of the activist.
Chairman of Eastern Kurdistan’s Human Rights center penned a letter to the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
“Mr. Jalla Piroty is a dissident and has actively opposed the Islamic republic’s inhuman policies towards the Kurdish people in Iran. This means that if Mr. Piroty is handed over to the Iranian authorities, his life is endangered,” said Shahrokh Hassanzadeh in a letter.
The lawyer appealed to the foreign ministry not to extradite the Kurdish dissident and ensure he has a legal status.
His party stated that Piroutkhalkhaneh and his daughter had to leave Turkey, where they had been refugees for six years, due to fear of deportation to Iran by the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is aiming for family reunification with his wife, who is living in Finland.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP-Iran) has carried out a decades-long insurgency in Iran as part of its campaign to defend the Kurdish minority’s rights.
According to Amnesty International, Iranian authorities have a long-standing history of secretly executing members of ethnic minority groups, and refusing to reveal their fate and their remains for years.