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Amnesty International Trying To Stop Extradition Of Iranian From Turkey

Alireza Japalaghy Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat

Raha Bahraini, an Amnesty International researcher for Iran, told the BBC on Friday that the human rights watchdog is trying to prevent the extradition of Alireza Japalaghy, an Iranian athlete and photographer to Iran on the grounds that his life will be endangered.

Japalaghi was arrested over a rooftop kiss and the photo that he shared on Instagram in May while he was still in Iran. Japalaghy reportedly said in a video posted before his arrest that he had been summoned by security officials just days after he posted photos and a video where he was seen kissing an unidentified woman who was wearing a sports bra and shorts on a rooftop in the Iranian capital.

The images, titled The Dawn Of Tehran, were posted on Japalaghy’s Instagram page, which has more than 100,000 followers, and were accessible as of midday on May 18.

The artist left Iran for Turkey after being released on bail but was arrested by Turkish border police on June 30. Human rights sources say he is currently being held at a camp in Van. His unnamed girlfriend was also arrested by the police for the photos.

The police called the video and the kissing scene a “crime”, according to Islamic rules enforced in Iran. Further, according to ISNA news website, the police claimed the behavior “would be considered a crime in any society”.

Meanwhile, a court in Istanbul on Friday sentenced four rights activists to a total of 12 years which the human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, said was a "blow for human rights" while making efforts to prevent the extradition of an Iranian national from Turkey to Iran.

“The decision of the court is staggering. During 12 court hearings, each and every allegation has been comprehensively exposed as a baseless slur,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher who observed the hearing said.

Gardner also said that the long-running trial has been a litmus test for the Turkish justice system. "As such, it is tragic to see the part it has played and continues to play in criminalizing the act of standing up for human rights. We will continue to stand with our friends and colleagues as they appeal these shameful verdicts," he added.