JUN 5, 2023 —
After two weeks of detainment, abuse, torture and terror at the hands of the Turkish authorities, after two weeks of being at the center of a humanitarian refugee crisis involving 104 asylum seekers from 8 countries in Turkey, UK journalists Sermad Al-Khafaji and Alexandra Foreman finally arrived back into the UK, on June 4th at 9pm at London Heathrow airport, after getting released from Turkish gendarmerie office in Edirne, facing no charges.
A large group of sympathizers and supporters who had followed the story gathered at the airport to welcome the two journalists back after their case made headlines in the national and international press.
Sermad and Alexandra were severely assaulted by Turkish police as they were covering Turkey’s brutality against 104 asylum seekers attempting to legally claim asylum. They will be speaking today on national radio and will be interviewed by several news stations, detailing Turkey’s illegal pushback and violence against the asylum seekers, giving first-hand accounts of torture methods and human rights violations that were endured by the 104 members of the faith during detention.
The Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light continued to receive harrowing testimonies from the detainees from within detention, as one of the female detainees from Algeria states how she was forced to strip completely naked and two other members from Iran stated how the Turkish gendarmerie assaulted the group at the Turkish-Bulgarian border with the help of truck drivers whom they told they would be allowed to rape the women and girls in the group.
Mohamed Hashem from Iran says: “Those government agents started to brutally attack us. They went and got help from the truck drivers and told them to come and help us and then we will let you have sex with their men and take their girls and rape them.”
Mohamed Hashem also reported on the severity of the beating after they were taken to the Edirne police station. He said: “There another agent came and started talking and said ‘So you want to create chaos in our country.’ He rolled up his sleeves and while he was talking he suddenly punched me in the mouth. They started kicking me. Now my legs are wounded. Here they keep us until the bruises are gone and then they release us.”
Several detainees reported being taken to the bathroom and were viciously beaten there away from the cameras. Iranian national Ali Reza said: “And after confessing, they brought me again in front of the bathroom and beat me so hard that my head hit the wall. I still have wounds on my head.”
Turkish gendarmerie officers were deliberately attempting to conceal these grave violations, threatening the members with retribution if they ever spoke up: “Every day when they took us to the doctor, they forced us to say that we have no problem, and if we said that we have a problem, they said that 24 hours have been added to your imprisonment.”
Palestinian national Yousef Abunada reports that during the interrogation in the Edirne Deportation Center, he was told that his religion is heretic. They specifically referred to the acceptance of homosexuals in the faith as well as its statements on the Kaaba and the month of Ramadan. Yousef reported that after the statements on religion, the interrogator ordered him to be taken to a separate room, where a group of several officers viciously beat him in retaliation for his beliefs and verbally abused him. He was insulted throughout the beatings and called an “infidel” several times. He was also told that because of his beliefs, he deserves to be killed.