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Turkey will not deport journalist Mohammad Mosaed to Iran, sources say

Turkish security sources tell MEE the award-winning reporter contacted emergency services on Sunday after nearly freezing to death in Van
Mohammad Mosaed was sentenced to four years in prison after criticising the Iranian government for its insufficient response to the Covid-19 crisis (Farid Kamran/Nia)
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Ankara

Turkey will not hand Iranian journalist Mohammad Mosaed back to Tehran after illegally crossing the border, and will keep him in a deportation centre until his application for international protection is resolved, Turkish security sources have told Middle East Eye.

On Monday, press freedom watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that Mosaed had contacted the group the day before after being detained by Turkish police.

Mosaed had just crossed into Turkey from Iran near the eastern city of Van, and the CPJ issued a statement warning that his life could be in danger if he was deported.

MEE's sources said Mosaed was detained after he called the emergency services on Sunday and asked for help because he was about to freeze to death.

'We simply won’t deport him, because there is capital punishment in Iran and he is a journalist, not a mobster'

- Turkish security source

“We simply won’t deport him, because there is capital punishment in Iran and he is a journalist, not a mobster,” a Turkish security source said.

The source said the Turkish authorities in Van had received Mosaed’s application for international protection, which is a form of asylum.

Mosaed, an award-winning journalist, was sentenced in August by a local Iranian court to more than four years in prison on charges of “colluding against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system”.

Washington-based CPJ said that Mosaed had fled Iran after being summoned by the authorities, which warned him that he would begin serving his jail sentence in two days’ time.

“We believe that Mohammad Mosaed has a well-founded fear of persecution should he be returned to Iran,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour.

“We urge Turkish authorities to respect their obligations under international law; to refrain from deporting Mosaed; to consider any request for political asylum that Mosaed may make; and to assure Mosaed’s rights are protected through due process of law.”

In recent years many Iranian dissidents have fled prosecution in Iran and settled in Turkey.

In September, the Turkish government decided not to deport prominent Iranian activist Maryam Shariatmadari, after she had been released from detention in the city of Denizli over an expired residency permit.