On November 18 2020, most of the fifty refugees who wished to seek asylum in Rumania were expelled back to Turkey. The resistance displayed at boarding time by journalist Nuri Akman, and Kurdish political figures Lokman Çoşkun, Serdar Bilgiç and Serbest Derin, had created a reaction in public opinion such that they were not put aboard the plane but immediately sent to a retention center. These refugees then left Rumania and sought asylum in different European countries.
Serbest Derin went to Austria. But on May 30 2021, he was sent back to Rumania. Since then, no news was obtainable about him and his last communication had been with journalist Nuri Akman. His friends and family expressed their concern over Serbest Derin’s security and life.
Nuri Akman provides the following information concerning the period following Serbest’s asylum request in Austria:
“Following the hardships we experienced in Rumania we decided Rumania was not a safe place for us and we left the country. We spread out over different European countries. Serbest went to Austria. While all of our asylum requests were received, Serbest’s request was refused because of the Dublin Treaty. We had maintained constant contact with him. He spoke with a lawyer and appealed this decision. His lawyer had also presented in his file numerous documents proving that his expulsion toward Rumania would lead to his extradition to Turkey.
When they tried to extradite us from Rumania to Turkey, the authorities gave us a single-use passport and bought us plane tickets. Serbest also provided this evidence in his appeal. Two out of the three requests to which he is entitled, were rejected. He still had third and final possibility left, but, in the night of May 30, he was removed from the cell in Corona where he was quarantined in isolation and handed back to Rumania. He managed to reach me on a phone he borrowed from another passenger on the plane and told me he had been interrogated by the police and that the translator had told him “in a little while, another team of policemen will come for you and bring you to the retention camp. There is no problem’.
I kept following what was happening to him, off and on. Shortly after, he told me that the team that had taken him into custody in Rumania had returned and that the leader was constantly on the phone, with his eyes glued on him. At that time, Serbest was still being held in the buffer zone. He was not allowed to enter Rumania. In hearing this, I contacted the lawyer handling his file in Rumania. He said that since Serbest had not shown up for the asylum interview, Rumania had closed the file and denied him access to the Rumanian territory for 5 years. The lawyer was on the file until May 30 but since then, we have absolutely no news from Serbest.”
Those responsible for this shameful event involving a refugee in Europe are Rumania and Austria…
During the conversation we had with Hüseyin Boğatekin, Serbest Derin’s lawyer, we learned that he is currently imprisoned in Metris, in Istanbul Turkey.
Hüseyin Boğatekin tells us the following:
“To this day, no official information has been provided to us. It is through my own efforts, by contacting the prisons where Serbest Derin might be incarcerated that I was able to obtain the information. During the contact with Metris prison, I informed them that I was Serbest Derin’s lawyer and wished to know visiting days to meet with my client. I was provided with dates for the visits. This is how I found out that Serbest had been extradited and was being held in Metris. This information obtained through our own means, is not official, since I have not yet been able to speak with Serbest. Only after speaking with him will we have clear and precise information.
During the past 5years, because of unfair and inequitable trials, dozens of my clients have been forced to leave Turkey in exile. I have listened to the story straight from the mouth of each one of them. In European countries, such as Rumania, Serbia, Greece, they were subjected to terrible treatment.
A number of my clients had been subjected to trauma following the violations of their rights as recognized in international treaties and through ill treatment. Many are returned to Turkey where they are subjected to unjust sentences. My client fleeing the fascism of authorities in their own country, are unfortunately forced to endure similar things on the road of exile.”
During the past 5years, because of unfair and inequitable trials, dozens of my clients have been forced to leave Turkey in exile. I have listened to the story straight from the mouth of each one of them. In European countries, such as Rumania, Serbia, Greece, they were subjected to terrible treatment.”
Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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