Thousands of Iranian refugees hope to be granted asylum
Broadcasted on German public service TV channel „ARD“, news broadcast „Tagesthemen“ 10. March 2010
Source (German): http://www.tagesschau.de/multimedia/video/video667944.html (click on link to watch the video)
by Stefan Buchen
In Turkish cities like this one, one finds the forgotten heroes of the protest movement against the Iranian regime.
We meet three Iranian students who have fled to Turkey. They wear the marks of the torture they endured in Iranian prisons, and out of concern for their families in Iran, they do not want to be identified.
When one of them was beaten up in the prison of torture, several of his vertebrae were smashed. This was his punishment for participating in the demonstrations against Ahmadinejad’s regime.
„I am in great pain when I stand, when I lie down, and when I walk it is absolutely unbearable. I don’t know what to do anymore“. He then shows us the torture marks on his legs. He was beaten with electrical batons, he says.
Turkey will not grant them asylum. Western governments and media celebrated people like them last summer, because they took to the streets in protest against Ahmadinejad.
This student is barely able to talk since he was tortured in detention. „I had to take off my clothes“, he says, stuttering, in a trembling voice. „The prison guards beat me up and then put a bucket in front of me, filled with excrements. ‚Eat that!’ they told me.“
After some minutes he has to stop the interview. All he wants is to get some fresh air.
The names of the three students and about 60 other Iranian dissidents who fled to Turkey have been presented to the Federal Government months ago. For a long time all international appeals to Germany to get involved and help remained unheard.
On Monday, a surprising announcement was made during a press conference of the Federal Government. „We decided to accept Iranian citizens from abroad in Germany. This applies to a series of substantiated individual cases, by an agreement with the Foreign Office.“
However, who exactly these individual cases are, and how long it will take, remains entirely unclear even after the announcement.
This family also hopes to be granted refuge in Germany. In August, the journalist Mohammad Zamani with his wife and child fled to Turkey. He had worked for a renowned dissident newspaper, and published articles about the protests against Ahmadinejad, about the brutal repression.
„The security authorities warned me: We know that you write those articles, we know your political past. Watch out that we will not kill you along with your wife and child.“
Zamani shows us the written summonses he received from the Intelligence Service. The last one is from 17. August. His charge: Inciting the rioters. For him this was a signal to flee. But even in Turkey he is not save. „Iranian security authorities called me and threatened me. They said they would not allow that I will ever live in peace.“
The Zamani family, as well as many other dissidents, now hope that Germany will follow through with its announcement to accept them as refugees.