Tags: Ebrahimi | activist | iran

Human Rights Activist Released

Friday, 28 Mar 2008 07:59 PM

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The Iranian human rights activist arrested on Thursday at the Istanbul airport and threatened with deportation to Iran has been released, thanks to the intervention of Iranian-American human rights groups and U.S. consular officials in Turkey.

Dr. Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, 31, was treated at a German hospital upon his arrival in Berlin on Friday afternoon for injuries caused by beatings from the Turkish airport police, a family member told Newsmax by phone from Germany.

“He’s OK. He is bruised. Parts of his body are blue. But it’s not that bad,” the family member said.

[To read yesterday's story, ;"Human Rights Activist Arrested in Turkey" - click here.]

Ebrahimi was beaten in a locked airport detention lounge in Istanbul on Thursday when he refused demands by a Turkish interrogator to write down the names of Iranian dissidents he knew in Turkey and in Germany. He was then locked in a bathroom for several hours.

In fact, Ebrahimi had come to Istanbul to see relatives who had traveled from Iran and from elsewhere in Europe for a family reunion.

The Turkish authorities had initially agreed to a request from an Iranian intelligence officer based in the Iranian consulate in Istanbul to deport Ebrahimi on the 8 a.m. flight on Friday to Tehran.

But after forceful intervention by U.S. and Swedish based human rights activists, the U.S. State Department made inquiries about Ebrahimi’s status through the Turkish embassy in Washington and directly with the Foreign Ministry in Ankara, and got Turkey to agree to send him back to Germany instead.

“A U.S. diplomat arrived at the airport at 3:30 in the morning to intervene,” Pooya Dayanim, an Iranian-American activist based in Los Angeles, told Newsmax.

“Under international law, if the Turks do not want to admit him to Turkey they are required to send him back to Germany, where he was a political refugee, and not to Iran,” a U.S. official told the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, a U.S.-based human rights group.

“This was handled at a very high level,” the diplomat added.

Ebrahimi was accused by the Iranians of having aided the defection of a former deputy defense minister, who divulged critical intelligence relating to Iran’s terrorist activities and its nuclear weapons program.

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