Swiss court lifts deportation decision for Kurdish journalist kept in detention at Zurich airport

A Swiss court lifted the decision to deport Mustafa Mamay,  a Kurdish-Turkish journalist who was sentenced to six years in prison by the Turkish authorities, back to South Africa, according to a message the journalist posted on Dec. 1. 

Mamay, who has been stuck in the Zurich airport for nearly two months, is now waiting for permission to enter Switzerland. 

He received six years and three months imprisonment in 2008 after he participated in a press statement of pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) while he was a university student in the southern city of Adana. When the supreme court approved the verdict, he fled to exile in northern Syria, also known as Rojava. He lived here for about three years and made news from the region during that time.

This year, he left Syria and travelled to Switzerland, attempting to seek asylum there. Swiss authorities initially detained him at Zurich Airport and tried to deport him to South Africa, where he had stopped before he reached Switzerland, claiming that it was a safe country— one that does not violate non-refoulment principles designed to ensure that refugees cannot be returned to countries where they may face harm. 

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