Iranian journalist and blogger, Neda Amin, who faced extradition from Turkey, arrived in Israel on Thursday, August 10.
Three years ago, Amin, 32, who works for The Times of Israel Persian website, fled from Iran to seek political asylum in Turkey.
Her request was recently denied and Turkey’s officials informed Amin that she would be deported to the Islamic Republic of Iran in coming days.
The verdict raised deep concern among human rights activists and Amin’s Israeli colleagues. “She could be facing the death penalty, if deported to Iran,” they argued and called Israeli Interior Minister, Arye Dery for help.
On Sunday, August 6, Dery announced, “Israel will allow entry to the Iranian blogger at the verge of her deportation to Iran where she faces persecution.”
Earlier, international media quoted Neda Amin as saying, “Turkey’s Police Department has repeatedly interrogated me over my job and urged me to quit writing for the Times of Israel.”
Furthermore, Ms. Amin maintained, “Turkey’s interrogators encouraged me to cooperate with the security forces but I rejected the offer.”
The Islamic republic of Iran does not recognize the state of Israel and has repeatedly called it as one of the main enemies of its regime. Therefore, citizens of Iran are not allowed to visit Israel or have any contacts with the country.
Israel, for its part, only in specific cases issues entry visas for Iranians.
Any relation between an Iranian and state of Israel or Israeli entities might bring the person dire consequences. That’s what worried Neda Amin’s colleagues and pushed them to hire an attorney, Achiya Ginosar, with the Jerusalem Association of Journalists for defending her.
Neda Amin was welcomed by The Times of Israel’s editor, David Horovitz arrived on Thursday morning at Ben-Gurion Airport.
“Thank you,” said Amin, over and over when she arrived, embracing Horovitz. “You saved me,” local media reported.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who issued a special visa for Amin entry into the country, tweeted Thursday: “Welcome to Israel!”
Neda Amin’s case has made the news at a time that in a controversial move, two Iranian football stars have broken a taboo by playing for their Greek club side, Panionios, against Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Captain of Iran’s National Football side, Masoud Shojaei and his teammate, Ehsan Hajsafi played for full ninety minutes against the Israeli club, on Wednesday, August 3, in Athens.
“Both football stars have lost their spot in Iranian National side”, Ministry of Sports’ deputy, Mohammad Reza Davarzani declared on Thursday, August 10.
Previously it was announced that the final verdict will be issued after a person to person interview with Shojaei and Hajsafi.