Lawyers of Dutch journalist demand stay of execution on deportation order

1 February 2019
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Robin Utrecht via HH
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Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), which represents Dutch journalist Ans Boersma, petitions Turkish court asking for a stay of execution on deportation order

The Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) applied to an İstanbul Court on behalf of Dutch journalist Johanna (Ans) Cornelia Boersma, who was unlawfully deported from Turkey on 17 January, requesting a stay of execution of the deportation order.

In the application, which was filed on 30 January, it was argued that Boersma does not pose a threat to general security and that her deportation has caused damage to her career as a journalist. Emphasizing that Boersma was deported in violation of existing regulations, the petition also highlighted that the way her expulsion was handled was also executed in violation of procedures.

Noting that his client has been deported unlawfully, MLSA Co-Director lawyer Veysel Ok said, “Boersma, who owns a Turkish press card and practices journalism in Turkey, has not faced any difficulty while entering Turkey on her return from the Netherlands. My client has been a resident of Turkey for a long time and her deportation is unlawful. No legal justification was presented neither to our client, nor to us for her deportation. She was deported in a haste, without even letting being allowed to get her belongings from her home or having time to pack. This means a prevention of her journalistic activities and further constitutes a violation of her personal rights. We are planning to take this case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) as an urgent application if we cannot get a favorable result from this case in the short term. Furthermore, we will take legal action about pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages caused by this unfair treatment executed by the Ministry.”

Ok also noted that the incident has hurt her client’s reputation and cost her her job, stating that Boersma will take legal action against the relevant authorities in the Netherlands.

Boersma was deported without proper explanation

Boersma has been working as a financial correspondent for the Netherlands-based Het Financieele Daglbad since February 2017. Last December, she applied to have her residency extended before going back to the Netherlands for Christmas while her application was being processed. Boersma returned to Turkey on 3 January and was also issued a new press card by the Turkish Presidency’s Communication Directorate on 8 January.

When Boersma went in to Bakırköy Immigration Authority Labor Directorate in order to ask the status of her residency application on 16 January, she was taken to the Kartaltepe Police Station and was held for several hours without any explanation. Her testimony was finally taken following the arrival of the Dutch Consul-General. Consequently, she received a six-year entry ban to Turkey and was deported the next morning.

Alleged Dutch intelligence notice

In response to the incident, Fahrettin Altun, the director of the Presidency’s Communication Department, made a public statement, claiming that Boersma was deported because Turkish authorities have recently received intelligence from the Dutch police, revealing that she had links to a designated terrorist organization and requested information about her movements in and out of Turkey.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch National Public Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Boersma is a suspect in a running criminal investigation regarding terrorism, emphasizing that there is no arrest warrant for her at the moment and that they have not requested Turkey to deport her. Dutch newspaper Nieuwsuur reported that Boersma was suspected of forgery and providing false papers to help an ex al-Nusra member in his visa application to the Netherlands.

On 18 January, Het Financieele Daglbad announced that they have fired Ans Boersma on the grounds that she failed to provide enough information about her motives in residing in Turkey.