Taşdemir case taken to the European Court of Human Rights

The Kurdish woman activist has not seen her lawyers and family after being extradited to Turkey by Norway.

Jan Birkeland, lawyer for Kurdish woman activist Gülizer Taşdemir, told ANF that Taşdemir was extradited to Turkey despite the risk to her safety and that this violates the very principle of protection of Norway.

Birkeland underlined that the decision taken violates the Norwegian Foreign Law and the United Nations Convention on Asylum, and confirmed that they brought the decision to the European Court of Human Rights as it is in open violation of international laws and agreements.

The lawyer said Taşdemir was immediately taken into custody in Turkey and was not allowed to meet with her relatives and lawyers. Birkeland added that the matter is a "life or death issue" and that the Norwegian organisations should have known that the Kurdish woman activist was a target of the Turkish state.

The immigration authorities claimed in their statement that Taşdemir was deported because she could not prove that she needed to be protected.

Birkeland said despite the fact that Taşdemir’s involvement with the PKK ranks was known and her photographs with the Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan were given to the Immigration Bureau and the Foreign Affairs Supreme Council (UNE), "the new information was not evaluated and this resulted in the biggest mistake since the foundation of the Immigration Department".

Immigration Officer Marianne Jakobsen told the Norwegian VG and Aftenposten newspapers that they meticulously handled the file and gave Taşdemir the opportunity to testify orally.

Jakobsen said the Immigration Department has reached the conclusion that Taşdemir "did not need protection" and saw no reason to change the decision.

Having taken the decision that she did not need protection, the immigration office opted for extraditing Taşdemir to Turkey. She was taken into custody at the airport.

For 5 days now she has not been able to meet with family and lawyers.

Lawyer Birkeland reiterated that the decision is contrary to law and international convention as there is a clear risk that Taşdemir could be subjected to inhuman treatment and torture. Which is why lawyer Birkeland will take the wrong decision by the Immigration Office to the Oslo Court on Wednesday.

Birkeland remarked that if the Immigration Office withdraws the deportation order and issues a residence permit to Taşdemir then there could be a request for her to be returned to Norway.

Asked whether this is a likely scenario, Birkeland said: "It is difficult but not impossible. Norway has to correct its mistake. Therefore, international pressures should be increased."

Swedish state television NRK carried news on Taşdemir's extradition to Turkey.

Birkeland accused the Immigration Department of making decisions without evaluating the information and documents provided by himself and Taşdemir, "In the best scenario, she would be sentenced to a long prison term. In the worst scenario, torture and inhumane conditions could really put her life in danger", he said.

The extradition decision prompted some reactions from politicians. Red Party and former deputy Erling Folkvord said that Taşdemir is at risk of torture in Turkey, and remembered the case of Abdulkarim Hussein who was tortured after he had been handed over to Syria in 2010.

Oslo City Council member from the Red Party, Negar Enayat sayd: "She was almost sent to death".

Women's Front, the Democratic Kurdish Community Center, Kurdish Women's Organizations Network and Ciwanên Azad said they have sent a joint letter to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and condemned the extradition of Taşdemir.

The Norwegian organisations said in their letter that they had warned the authorities before of the risks faced by Taşdemir should she be deported. Despite this, they said, the Immigration Office decided to extradite her.

The organisations confirmed that Taşdemir was taken into custody when she landed in Turkey and is not allowed to meet anyone.

Reiterating their concern for Taşdemir's life, the signatory associations say that the Norwegian institutions should guarantee the safety of Taşdemir and follow the issue in order to avoid the same mistakes in the future. They asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond in writing to their letter.