Amnesty Urgent Action: Arbitrary and Illegal Detention of Syrian Refugee

Amnesty International today issued an Urgent Action in the case of Syrian refugee, M.K., who has been arbitrarily detained under inhumane conditions at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport since 9 November 2015. He is at risk of being returned to Syria, where his life would be in danger.


Source: ISG Press Office Photo Gallery

Amnesty states:

M.K. fled Syria in December 2012 and went to Jordan. In November 2015 he decided to go to Turkey, as he thought his orphaned sisters – 12-year old twins – living in Syria may be able to join him there. He was detained on arrival in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport on 9 November 2015. The Turkish authorities attempted to send him back to Jordan the following day, allegedly for using false identification documents, but M.K. said he wished to seek asylum in Turkey. M.K. was then taken to a room at the airport in which he has remained ever since.
M.K. is being detained in a space with no natural light and in which artificial lights are permanently on. He says he has asked the officials to switch off the lights but his request was denied. He told Amnesty International that his eyes hurt from the constant light and that he needs medical attention. M.K. said that he went on a hunger strike for about 10 days in February to protest his detention, and that he was not provided any medical care until after he had stopped the hunger strike. Being kept confined in such a space for an extended period of time (in this case since 9 November 2015) may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

According to Amnesty, “M.K.’s detention appears arbitrary, as it does not seem to have any clear basis in Turkey’s 2013 Law on Foreigners and International Protection or 2014 Temporary Protection Directive.”

 M.K. says he is afraid that the Turkish authorities will return him either to Syria, or to Jordan from where he is at risk of subsequently being deported to Syria. He showed Amnesty International a document issued by the Jordanian Ministry of Interior dated 8 November 2015, stating that he would not be readmitted to the country.

Amnesty has called on its members worldwide to write to Turkish officials in this case

  • Calling on the Turkish authorities to immediately release M.K. from detention and grant him Temporary Protection Status in Turkey, under Article 91 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection;
  • Urging them to ensure that M.K. is not returned to Jordan or Syria – or pressured to return “voluntarily”;
  • Calling on them to ensure that M.K. receives any medical care he may require.

Minister of Interior
Mr. Efkan Ala
İçişleri Bakanlığı
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 425 85 09
Salutation: Dear Minister

Directorate General of Migration Management
Mr Atilla Toros
Director General
Lalegül Çamlıca Mahallesi 122. Sokak No: 2/3 06370
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 422 09 00 +90 312 422 09 99
Salutation: Dear Director

And copies to:
National Human Rights Institution of Turkey
Dr. Hikmet Tülen İnsan Hakları Başkanı
Türkiye İnsan Hakları Kurumu
Yüksel Caddesi
No: 23, Kat 3, Yenişehir 06650
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 422 29 96

You may also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

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