The RRA (Refugee Rights Association) and KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism, condemn the deportation of Barbaros Şansal carried out yesterday (02/01/2017) from northern Cyprus to Turkey and remind the Turkish Cypriot Authorities of the human rights obligations they have against refoulement of persons to persecution. Şansal was brutally assaulted by a crowd moments after landing at Atatürk airport on Monday night.[i]
The decision to deport Mr Şansal was taken by the Turkish Cypriot Authorities around one year ago when he was convicted for a criminal offense. The authorities at that time decided not to implement the decision, exercising the discretion given by the CAP 105. However, on the 2nd of January 2017, Turkish Cypriot Authorities authorities implemented the deportation decision one day after Mr Şansal published a video[ii] on social media in which he criticised the Turkish state. The specific incident not only violates freedom of expression, but is also a violation of the absolute rule on non-refoulement, that is to say, prohibition of deportation or removal of persons in any manner to a place where they may be subject to persecution. Upon his arrival in Turkey, Mr. Şansal has been subject to a lynching attempt at the airport, has been arrested by the police and is still in detention.
The RRA and KISA condemn the authorities’ decision to deport Mr. Sansal to Turkey that was directly related to the video criticising the Turkish government. Furthermore, we demand that the relevant authorities provide an immediate answer to the following questions:
- What were the the grounds on which the Turkish Cypriot Authorities decided to implement the decision to deport Mr. Şansal on 2 January 2017?
- Was the video shared on social media a factor considered in the decision to deport him, and if so, on what grounds?
- Did the Turkish Cypriot Authorities take into account the possibility of human rights violation he might be subjected to, following his deportation, on grounds of his political beliefs and sexual orientation?
- Are the Turkish Cypriot Authorities investigating people and companies that publicly threatened Mr. Şansal using expressions such as “a person that needs to be slapped without any reason”, “bastard that swore at Turkey”?
- Are there any investigations being conducted against hate speech and the threats directed at Şansal on account of his sexual orientationthat clearly constitute incitement to violence?
We demand that this incident, which constitutes a clear breach of human rights and refugee rights, be investigated effectively, promptly, impartially and independently and that the results of such an investigation are made public. We also call on the Turkish Cypriot Administration to adopt the necessary measures so as to abide with the obligations of non-refoulement and respect of human rights so as to prevent further similar incidents.
[ii] Şansal asked whether people are still celebrating the new year ‘at times when many journalists are in detention, many children are subject to harassment and rape, when corruption and bribery are in very high levels, when sectarians, together with are distributing dirt on the streets’ and added ’drown in your own shit Turkey’ . Şanşal also said that northern Cyprus has entered the new year because of pressure of Turkey, yet there is one more hour for the Republic of Cyprus to enter, reminding his followers that the two sides on the island were in different time zones.