Turkey set to deport Iranian anti-hijab activist facing execution

The Turkish authorities arrested an Iranian anti-hijab activist on Monday and plan to deport her to Iran, where she could face execution, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Maryam Shariatmadari fled the Islamic Republic in 2018 after the authorities briefly detained her for participating in a protest against the mandatory wearing of the hijab, an Islamic headscarf, the Israeli newspaper said on Tuesday.

The Centre for Human Rights in Iran reported in 2018 that a Tehran criminal court sentenced Shariatmadari to a year in prison for her protest, convicting her of “encouraging corruption by removing her hijab”, the Jerusalem Post said.

The National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI), a non-partisan NGO of Iranian-Americans, said on Monday that Shariatmadari would be imprisoned and “possibly tortured and executed” in Iran. It called on the United Nations’ refugee body to help release her from Turkish custody.

Shariatmadari said she was in the Turkish city of Denizli when she was arrested “without cause”, according to comments published by the NUFDI on Twitter.

“They chose a few people for deportation,” she said.

The arrest of Shariatmadari came ahead of a “cooperation meeting” between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani via videoconference on Tuesday.