Interior Minister Deri Grants Asylum to Iranian Journalist

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Interior Minister Deri Grants Asylum to Iranian Journalist

Written by Zachary Kerman/TPS on August 06, 2017

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri granted on Sunday an entry visa to Nada Amin, an Iranian-born journalist based in Turkey who is a contributor to the Times of Israel.

Turkey is reportedly planning to expel Amin for “baseless accusations of spying for Israel”, the Israeli Journalists Association’s request stated. Last week, Amin appealed to other countries in the region for asylum, saying she could face the death penalty if she is forced to return to Iran.

Deri said he authorized the entry visa “on humanitarian grounds,” and added that the episode “illustrates the difference between us and the Iranian regime, which continues to run a merciless regime of terror.”

Amin left Iran three years ago and has lived in Turkey ever since.

But Ankara has become increasingly hostile to journalists in recent years as President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has cracked down on dissent in the country. According to Committee to Protect Journalists, 81 out of the 259 journalists currently imprisoned worldwide, or 31 percent, have been jailed in Turkey. Last month alone, 17 journalists of the daily Cumhuriyet newspaper were accused of aiding and abetting terrorist organizations, despite the defendants arguing that their paper vehemently criticized such groups in the past. Some face up to 43 years in prison.

Sources close to Amin told TPS they could not comment on the move to bring Amin to Israel or on her current location or state of mind because they did not want to put her in any further danger.  They said they expected Amin to give media interviews if and when she arrives in the country, but added that they could not confirm when, or even, that would occur.

“This is a journalist who faces a real danger to her life, only because of writing columns on an Israeli news website,” said Deri.

With additional reporting by Andrew Friedman.

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