Iranian religious opponent seeks asylum

Linked with URGENT: FREE Negar Aziz Moradi.

Publidshed on Hürriyet Daily News, November 30, 2009. h

An Iranian woman, the leader of an atheist sect who has been held in custody in Turkey for the past month, is seeking asylum. Iran would execute her if she returned, she says.

Accused of fomenting religious hatred, Nigar Azizmuradi, the Iranian head of the Raelian Movement who was recently taken into custody in Turkey for using a fake passport and who faces almost certain death back home, has requesteed asylum from U.N. authorities.

A former cinema student at Tehran University, 31-year-old Nigar Azizmuradi has sought asylum because she is afraid of being executed in Iran as a political and religious opponent … //

… With a fake passport, Azizmuradi came to Turkey and proceeded to Kenya in preparation of a trip to Britain. Upon arriving in Kenya on Oct. 19, however, police in the airport realized her passport was fake and sent her back to Turkey. 

“My morale is so bad because of what I have been through in the last year. My lungs are sick. Other refugees smoke too much,” she said. Azizmuradi also called on Turkey to support her.

Majority wants her to stay:

Most of those who took an online poll conducted by the daily Hürriyet at hurriyet.com.tr demanded that she not be sent back to Iran. Almost 500,000 people voted in the online survey and 98 percent said she should be sent to another country. Only 1.7 percent wanted Azizmuradi to be sent back.

“A great majority of people opposes Nigar’s execution for being an atheist. It means they believe that not having a religion or being atheist deserves to be freely expressed,” Fatih Çekirge, a columnist at Hürriyet, wrote Monday. (full text and many reader comments).

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