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Cablegate: Demarche: Condemn Deportation of Iranian Refugees

VZCZCXRO7073
RR RUEHDIR
DE RUEHC #9031/01 2562145
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 132131Z SEP 07
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1319
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 2823
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 2482
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1725
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1205
RUEHDIR/IRAN RPO DUBAI 0041
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 129031

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV PREF KDEM IR TU IZ
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE: CONDEMN DEPORTATION OF IRANIAN REFUGEES

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Department asks that post strongly
protest the deportation of five UNHCR-recognized refugees
from Turkey in August 2007 and seek clarification of the
circumstances surrounding this possible case of refoulement.
The Department appreciates post,s action to date and seeks a
formal demarche protesting Turkish action, including denying
the travel of one refugee to Istanbul on multiple occasions
for an interview United States immigration officials. END
SUMMARY.

----------
OBJECTIVES
----------

2. (SBU) Begin Objectives.

-- Request that host government officials explain the
circumstances surrounding the deportation of Pejman Piran,
Mostaba Vantanpur Naderani, Abolfazl Ajourlu, Ali Alemzadeh,
and Ali Reza Ranjbar, including when and to what location
they were sent, and what process the GOT used to determine
Piran and the others did not qualify for refugee status.

-- Stress the Turkish Government's obligation to cooperate
with UNHCR and urge them to protect individuals recognized as
refugees by UNHCR.

-- Deplore the GOT,s actions to prevent Piran on three
occasions from traveling from Van, Turkey to Istanbul to
attend his resettlement interview with U.S. Department of
Homeland Security officials.

-- Protest the deportation and possible refoulement of Piran
and the others.

-- Emphasize the USG interest in these cases, particularly
that of Piran.

End Objectives.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

3. Begin Background.

(SBU) Pejman Piran, who arrived in Turkey in April 2005, was
formally recognized as a refugee by UNHCR in October 2006
based on well-founded fears of persecution due to his and his
family,s political activities. His brother, Peyman Piran,
is a prominent Iranian student activist currently detained in
Evin Prison who has been mentioned by name in the 2006, 2005,
and 2004 Human Rights Report. Their father Mostafa Piran, a
prominent labor activist, has received refugee status in
Sweden. Pejman Piran,s refugee case was submitted to the
United States for review, but Turkish authorities three times
denied him permission to travel from Van to Istanbul for his
resettlement interview with DHS officials. UNHCR reports
Piran and four other UNHCR-recognized refugees were detained
and deported from Turkey on August 22, 2007. The GOT refused
to confirm their detention, denied them access to Amnesty
International lawyers, and reportedly deported them from
Turkey to either Iran or Iraq. The GOT has argued it does
not consider Piran to be a refugee, since he had previously
left Iran and returned safely.

(SBU) States party to the UN Convention Relating to the
Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, such as Turkey,
have the right to make their own determination of which
individuals qualify as refugees; they are not obligated to
recognize UNHCR refugee designations. However, the GOT
should be able to explain the legal process by which it
determined Piran was not a refugee and that his life or
freedom would not be threatened on account of a protected
category (race, religion, nationality, social group
membership or political opinion) in the territory to which
they deported him.
End Background.

----------------
POINT OF CONTACT
----------------

STATE 00129031 002 OF 002

4. (SBU) The POC for these cases is Kate Lurie, DRL/NESCA,
202-647-4753, lurieka@state.gov.
RICE

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