Syrian Refugee Fadi Mansour: No longer held at the airport, but still at risk

Syrian refugee Fadi Mansour held at Atatürk airport

has been arbitrarily detained in inhumane conditions at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport since 15 March 2015. He is at continued risk of being returned to Syria.

The case of Fadi Mansour, who was held in the Ataturk Airport, in Istanbul, for over a year, has garnered international attention.

Kaya Genc, writing in the London Review of Books, describes the conditions that Fadi endured:

Mansour has been detained at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. He is living in the ‘Problematic Passengers Room’. It has no natural light and no beds. The electric lights are kept on around the clock. ‘Sometimes they let me go outside the room for one or two hours,’ he told me. ‘But nothing is different between here and outside.’

I asked him if he could measure the room for me. It is 14 steps wide. ‘They give me three meals a day,’ he said. ‘It’s all junk food.’ Not long ago a Turkish policeman told him to look after himself and eat. ‘During the first eight months, I told my parents that I was visiting Turkey to not let them get worried about me,’ Mansour said. ‘Here nobody had been helpful to me.’

This past weekend, we received the good news that Fadi would no longer be held at the airport.  Unfortunately, he is still in detention and still at risk of being returned to Syria. Amnesty has called on its world-wide membership to continue the campaign for his release.


According to Amnesty International,

[Fadi] was transferred from the airport on 19 March after his passport was stamped (which means he has finally been admitted into Turkey) and taken to a nearby police station. According to Fadi Mansour’s lawyer, this followed a decision by the Directorate General for Migration Management to transfer him to administrative detention in the Adana Removal Centre in south-eastern Turkey.

In the meantime, on 21 March, he was transferred from the police station to detention facilities at Kumkapı Removal Centre, in Istanbul. Fadi Mansour’s lawyer has applied to the Directorate General of Migration Management, requesting that he is not sent to the Adana Removal Centre, but rather released and provided with temporary protection under the 2013 Turkish Law on Foreigners and International Protection.

Amnesty underlines that “until he is released and provided with temporary protection status, Fadi Mansour is at continued risk of being returned to Syria, where he would be at real risk of serious human rights violations.”  For information on how to take action in his case, see Amnesty’s Urgent Action or use one of these tweets:

Suggested tweets

.@efkanala Syrian refugee @FadiMans0ur must be released and provided with protection. Please act now!

.@efkanala Syrian refugee @FadiMans0ur spent over 1 year at Ataturk airport. Now he is held in Kumkapi Removal Centre. Release him now.

.@efkanala Please release @FadiMans0ur. He is a Syrian refugee and is in need of protection.


Despite the progress made in Fadi’s case, a second Syrian refugee continues to be held in Sabiha Gökçen Airport since 9 November 2015.

M.K. fled Syria in December 2012 and went to Jordan. In November 2015 he decided to go to Turkey, as he thought his orphaned sisters – 12-year old twins – living in Syria may be able to join him there. He was detained on arrival in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport on 9 November 2015. The Turkish authorities attempted to send him back to Jordan the following day, allegedly for using false identification documents, but M.K. said he wished to seek asylum in Turkey. M.K. was then taken to a room at the airport in which he has remained ever since.

Journalist Nick Ashdown describes the utter despair that M.K. feels:

[M.K.], who has no friends in Turkey and has a problem with his eyes because the lights are never turned out, sounded panic-stricken and extremely lonely.

“I need anyone to talk to, to give me a good feeling,” he said, holding back tears. “I’m very tired. I’m alone now. I’m totally alone.”

Amnesty has issued Urgent Action in M.K.’s case, calling on its members worldwide to write to Turkish officials in this case.  Details on how to take action can be found here.

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